Many negotiators are stifled by what business coach Dan Sullivan calls the gap or fixed mindset. Conversely, the best negotiators in the world see things differently and have a mindset of gain and abundance.
Unless you’re born with an abundance mindset, finding and developing it within yourself is a challenge. Most of us won’t achieve it until we stumble into it at some point in our careers and begin seeing the world through a different lens.
As a salesperson, identifying whether you’re being driven by a gap mindset starts with analyzing your go-to move. If your go-to move is cutting your price, using the “walk away,” or backing the other side into a corner, you may be guilty of “gap thinking.” If you look at your job as a zero-sum game because you sell certain types of assets, you may be in the gap. The real problem is that it’s impossible to truly understand your counterpart’s mindset if the first move is aimed at zero sum.
Imagine you spent $10,000 on a high-end tailored suit. You get the suit back. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hug the shoulders quite right. The tailor looks at you and offers to give you a $100 discount. There’s a problem: You spent $10,000, so you don’t care about $100. Even if the tailor decided to credit the entire $10,000 back to you, it still wouldn’t matter. You want the suit. You have places to go and people to meet, and you need the suit to be perfect. A discount doesn’t meet your needs.
When you’re not operating with an abundance mindset, it’s impossible to wrap your head around this concept. Nine times out of 10, if someone is complaining and hasn’t asked for their money back, it’s because they need the product or service to be exactly right, and no amount of money will fix that. If Elon Musk needs a rocket to fly to Mars but the rocket is defective, a refund won’t change the fact that he lost a year on the project.
The best salespeople and negotiators understand this because they have a growth and abundance mindset. They seek to truly understand the people they negotiate with because they know both sides can win.
Sales and Negotiation Skills Training: The Power of the Abundance Mindset
According to Joe Polish, founder of the Genius Network, there are two kinds of clients: ELFs, who are easy, lucrative, and fun, and HALFs, who are hard, annoying, lame, and frustrating.
When you have an abundance mindset, you tend to work with ELFs because there’s a natural tendency to be very particular about the individuals and entities you work with. On the other hand, when you have a fixed mindset, you’re all about landing deals with as many clients as possible—even if you have a bad feeling about them.
Simply put, negotiators with high-performing mindsets don’t have the patience to do business with people who suck up their time and are incompatible with their goals. Those with an abundance mindset radiate positive, engaging energy and want to surround themselves with similar people.
Think about an insecure man who lacks confidence in how he carries himself. Give that same man a fortune of cash and a Porsche, and suddenly he walks around like he’s a boss because of his newfound growth and abundance mindset.
When negotiators come from growth-minded places, they take fewer calls yet still make better deals. They also find themselves working with less troublesome clients—they don’t take money from HALFs because they only want to do business with ELFs. If you’re abundance-minded, a counterpart who has a general notion that they want to do business with you will be a quick sell because people like doing business with people they like.
Negotiators with fixed mindsets have higher tolerance levels, resulting in them wasting bigger chunks of their time. These individuals will problem-solve issues on behalf of HALFs just because they have them on the hook and want to reel them in.
Conversely, when HALFs approach abundance-oriented individuals with a list of problems, they are quickly cut out of the equation because negotiators with abundance mindsets don’t want to work with difficult people. It’s a much more efficient approach to doing business that translates into more deals, better client relationships, and happier, more fulfilled negotiators.
The wrong mindset is just one way your sales team is killing deals. To learn more avoidable mistakes your sales team makes, download our free e-book, Five Ways Your Sales Team Is Killing Deals.