Negotiator or Hostage?

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You’ve seen this scenario dozens of times in the movies and on TV: the bad guys (robbers, terrorists, etc.) are inside a building with hostages. Outside, police SWAT teams surround the location, and a negotiator communicates with the hostage-takers.

The bad guys have demands: food, transportation, release of prisoners, whatever. The police respond by offering to meet some of the demands in return for the release of some of the hostages. And so it goes, until the hero or heroes take some action to save the day.

Now think about the last time you “negotiated” a schedule with a client. Were you really the negotiator…or were you the hostage?

Negotiators get something in return for giving something. The client says: “Your rates are too high.” If you lower the rate without getting a concession in return, you’re a hostage. Instead of responding: “Maybe we can do a little better on the rate”, you instead say: “I can reduce the rate by this much if you agree to extend the schedule an extra two weeks.” That’s a negotiator speaking.

One of the benefits of a well-founded yield management system is that it gives you the leverage needed to get the most out of client negotiations. You know where your peak demand is as well as days and hours of lesser demand. By adding some lower-demand, lower-priced ads into the schedule, the client gets a better rate, and you sell more time while leaving more of the peak demand ads available for sale to other advertisers.

The economy is going to be rough for the foreseeable future. Improve your negotiation skills now and refuse to be held hostage to unreasonable demands for reduced prices. Then, you’ll be the hero that saves the day.

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