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Has a deal ever lasted so long that the the only thing going through your head is, "I just want this to be over!" This, my friends, is called deal fatigue. It's a real thing and it happens to many of us. Having been in negotiations that have lasted in excess of a year, I can tell you that deal fatigue is a killer and unless you recognize and manage your deal fatigue, it will kill your deal. In this post we'll cover the three things you need to do when you experience deal fatigue to stop yourself from killing a deal before it's done.
Deal fatigue is different than most types of fatigue you'll experience. Negotiation's, when they go long enough, can be both intellectually and emotionally draining. I say emotionally because negotiation is inherently emotional. You're dealing with people first and foremost, and as much as procurement people try to escape it, people can become emotional.
When you get fatigued in a negotiation you begin to wish for the end and most people push for completion quickly. This is a mistake. When you push the deal for completion too quickly because you're experiencing fatigue you create an environment where errors flourish! Common errors I see in deal fatigue include errors surrounding terms and conditions, error in payment terms, and biggest and most concerning of all, unnecessary concessions to close the deal faster.
Making concessions to close the deal faster is the professional negotiator's biggest trap. Knowing this, there are many professional negotiators that set that trap for others and time the negotiation out to get additional concessions. In fact, I know many professional negotiators that have mastered this so well that they structure their negotiations to allow for big windfalls at the end of their negotiations because they know the other party is tight on time. This is a terrible way to do business. But hey, no one ever said negotiation was all sunshine and rainbows.
"So what's a person to do?"
I'm so glad you asked!
Recognition - The first step is recognition. Recognizing when you're beginning to get deal fatigue is critical to solving it. When you start wishing for the end. When you dread your next call with the supplier/procurement person. When you start pushing off your next meeting/call with the supplier or procurement person because you're so tired of talking to them that you actually would just about do ANYTHING else except talk to them. When you start rushing your meetings to close items and begin conceding on things you know you shouldn't need to concede on. Yep, those are all signs of deal fatigue. When these signs start popping up, it's time to stop and reflect on the situation.
Combat - Step two is to combat deal fatigue. Combating deal fatigue feels like you're sitting in the trenches taking grenades. Deal fatigue is an enemy that will not give up and the only way to defeat it is to launch all out warfare on it by enlisting your biggest and most powerful weapon of all,.....patience. Not enough can be said about how important patience is in negotiating. It is a critical skill that may be the hardest of all to master. But once you can master patience, you can master your negotiations. Developing patience, now there's a tough habit to form. While there are breathing techniques, meditation, and special thinking processes that can help you, much of patience mastery comes from throwing the brute force of patience at situations and forcing yourself through uncomfortable positions that require patience. It's not rocket science folks. If you were looking for some magic bullet to combat deal fatigue. You won't find it here. Patience takes hard work and discipline to enforce.
Call for Reinforcements - Step three is to call for reinforcements. You're missing something. You're tired and have missed something. I don't know what it is, you don't know what it is, but you're missing something that can close this deal. The only way to know what you're missing is to get someone to help you. Walk a colleague or your boss through the deal. Fresh eyes on the situation may open up a whole new avenue that you haven't thought of yet. And be honest with them. Tell them that you're experiencing deal fatigue. You win nothing by pushing through it alone. No one is gonna give you a medal for it. So get the help you need.
If you can follow these the steps (notice I didn't say three easy steps - they're not easy), then you'll be well on your way to overcoming deal fatigue. Deal fatigue is a deal killer. The sooner you recognize it, combat it, and call for help, the more easily you'll be able to overcome it in the future.
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