The most successful credit professionals are masterful negotiators.
What makes one ‘masterful’ at negotiating is found in how they conduct themselves in the course of business. We’ve narrowed it down to a handful of things to consider:
- Be true to your word
Do what you say you’ll do. If you make a promise, follow through. Idle threats aren’t for you. You don’t bluff. You state your case fairly, make yourself clear, and follow through.
- Be respectful
Be present in the conversation. Hear what’s being said. Ask questions. Respond with careful consideration. Your customer’s side of the story is every bit as relevant as your own. He’s likely more willing to work with you when you extend common courtesy in every situation.
This includes when and where you choose to work your magic. Some conversations must be handled in person. Other circumstances might require a simple email or letter. In any situation, your timing is key.
- Be prepared
Know the details of the case before you attempt to negotiate it. Check and re-check the facts so that you’re spot on. This includes dates, times, dollar amounts, names, numbers, promises made and promises broken. To establish your self as a trusted expert requires accuracy on every point. This is especially important with difficult customers who have set themselves against you from the outset of the conversation.
- Be aware of the customer needs
The more you understand the needs of your customer, the better you can understand the agenda of any given negotiation. With that knowledge, you can better negotiate so both parties benefit.
- Be the authority
It’s not unusual for a credit professional to outline consequences for certain actions or inactions of a customer. Therefore, it’s imperative, before any consequences are spelled out, that the credit professional have the authority to exact them. This is just as true with promises of a positive outcome (or reward). You must have the authority to do what you say you’ll do.