Complaints / Whining

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One problem faced by many negotiators in the service industry is the need to please and be customer-focused. Although essential in the service industry, the “disease to please” can easily be exploited or inappropriate in certain settings. Because people-pleasers are common, negotiators will often complain and whine about everything hoping to increase tension when they would ultimately be willing to move forward with the deal in its current form. Being difficult is a way to gain concession by irritation and persistence. Sometimes complaints, if responded to, work against the complainer’s interests as they telegraph the issue that can be solved. If solved, are you trapped to close?


Consider a hesitant car-buyer: Car Buyer: “That is a bad color on the sideboard of the car, other than that it’s perfect.” Car Seller: “It can be painted. The body is stock paint for a 2018 Toyota Highlander. You seem to like everything except that, there being no further objections, we have a deal?”


The solution is to probe to see if the complaints are just utterances or actual deal impediments. By questioning complaints, we can determine their legitimacy. Is the complaint just vetting some issue or are there material and legitimate concerns? Investing in the relationship will indicate the veracity of whining and you will get a sense of the personality type with which you are dealing. We need not react to everything that is said and should not assume any complaint is a deal breaker.

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