"Let me check and I will get back to you ... " How many times have you heard this phrase in a negotiation? Better yet… how many times have you actually said it? This phrase can be deadly.
While sometimes in a negotiation checking a key point may be necessary, using this phrase too often during a negotiation with a client can be damaging for you. I am not talking about the need to review and obtain final approval / agreement from your own manager or organization after you have agreed to a deal with your client pending final approvals. I am referring to interrupting the flow of a negotiation by not having enough information or not having completed the internal negotiations that might be necessary before negotiating with a client.
This one single phrase sends serious messages that may backfire on you. If you need to check back constantly with your manager or company on point-after-point during a negotiation, you lose credibility. We are all very aware how important credibility is in establishing, building and maintaining client relationships. Your credibility has a significant impact in your negotiations, too.
Constant 'checking' during a negotiation might convey to the client that you are not ready for the negotiation. Have you prepared adequately? Your client may wonder if this lack of preparation is typical for your company. A client may question if they reach agreement with you, is your company prepared to deliver?
Or, "Let me check and I will get back to you..." may send the message that you are taking an arrogant approach with the client. Your client might sense that you assumed that you knew all about what this negotiation would consist of, what the negotiation conversation would entail, what the client would request, and that perhaps you assumed you have already ‘won’ the deal.
Your client may wonder ‘who’ they are negotiating with when someone else seems to be making all the decisions. It might seem that you are not able or perhaps not permitted by your company to negotiate any points beyond what is being presented. A client might start to ask to negotiate directly with the person you are referring to when you go back to your office to check on point after point.
Preparation is crucial for negotiation. Preparing your multiple equal offers is one level of preparation. Preparing for ‘how’ you will negotiate and ‘what’ you are able / permitted to negotiate is another important level of preparation. This preparation will help you to avoid negatively impacting your credibility and will help you to avoid using the phrase, "Let me check and I will get back to you!"