November 27, 2020. – This year the majority of customer negotiations has been online. It feels modern and effective and saves plenty of travel. But it is not quite like being in the same room. Luckily the technical connections work already quite well, even though the line usually breaks just when the other party is telling its counter-proposal to your price offer.
Video is a big help when trying to build common ground. Body language gives you some hint of how people are reacting to your tactics and what you are saying. The only thing missing is clear eye contact. This is why experienced plywood sales persons have learned to look at their computer’s camera instead of the screen.
Closing deals is perhaps the most difficult part of online negotiations. In face-to-face meetings there used to be the time pressure of a plane leaving or getting into your car before the rush hour. You had to come up with some solution before running out of time. When talking online there are no planes leaving. A jam in negotiations easily leads to another online call. That’s how the deal making gets longer and, in fact, becomes less effective.
New tools will help us to be better at work, but we need some time to master them. No matter how good the tools get, business itself will always stay P2P, person to person. Fortunately.