Put Some Snot In Your Potatoes

Put some snot in your potatoes

I’ve said before that sales negotiations are a game, and one of the most common plays a buyer has is the flinch: you state the price and they almost fall out of their chair.

A client once told me she had just been to negotiating training for buyers and showed me eight pages of material dedicated to the flinch.

They had mild, medium and strong flinches along with regional and ethnic flinches:

  • New York flinch – “You’re killin’ me here!”
  • Texas flinch – “That dog won’t hunt!”
  • New Orleans flinch – “There ain’t enough juice in that bug for us!”

I heard one of my personal favorites during a negotiation with a Sou Paolo comptroller who said, “Well! That is some snot in the potatoes!”

Negotiating is a mental game

The flinch evokes a parent/child response.

When a critical parent scolds a child, the child tends to respond by cowering and complying. So do most salespeople. It’s a preprogrammed, automatic response.

Even if you aren’t intimidated by the buyers, the flinch still works because you may see it as a sign they are ready to buy, so you sweeten the pot to accelerate the purchase.

In either case, savvy buyers do it because in a LARGE percentage of instances it produces a unilateral concession.

The Impact of Beliefs

The belief that you will have to offer a discount to create a sale, creates a reality.

When a buyer says, “Your price is too high,” many salespeople believe they must comply because they don’t have any power as a seller.

To combat the flinch, you must understand that buyers are trained to ask for discounts and they want you to think they will only buy from the lowest bidder.

You must also believe in the business case you built with the buyer during the need diagnostic.

If you’re interested in learning additional negotiating skills, consider reading my book, Negotiating With The Savvy Software Buyer.