Negotiating tips: The power of time

Negotiating tips: The power of time

Another of the key powers in negotiating is time. Basic rule is this: you rush you'll get less.

This 'power' is probably more relevant and important nowadays than ever before. How often have you heard people remark about the speed of life nowadays? With everyone in such a rush it's very easy to find yourself trying to tie up one deal so you can get to the next one. Over my career it has been a constant challenge to get salespeople to stop rushing. To focus on the sale in front of them, not the phone ringing in the background. It's critical that you do the very best you can with the buyer in front of you. Then when that's done and dusted, you move onto the next. They'll leave a message - it's fine. Making the new prospect wait 10 minutes for a call back won't hurt your bottom line - but I guarantee rushing through the negotiation you're currently working on will.

You see negotiating takes time. It's a tug of war and there are numerous steps you need to go through. If you're in a hurry, you'll concede ground too easily and give up concessions you shouldn't. Not to mention that a skilled negotiator will identify that you're in a hurry and push for more. Just acting like you're in a hurry gives power to the person on the other side of the table. It tells them so much about your state of mind, the pressures you're experiencing etc. The strongest position from which to negotiate is always that of the helpful, interested seller who can wait all day.

You see time is a killer for both parties. Good negotiators know this. Even if their life depends on getting the deal done by the end of the day, they won't let on. 

Think back to your own negotiating experiences. How many times have you, or the person on the other side of the table, let information slip about the pressure of time? Perhaps you're buying a house and you tell the agent you have to find something soon because your lease is running out? Perhaps you're selling cars and the buyer tells you they need something urgently in order to get to work? Or maybe it's a job interview and the employer let's slip that they desperately need someone on board before June 30? 
None of these pieces of information guarantee you'll get the sale/job, but they tell you a lot about the other person's circumstances. As per my article a few weeks back, knowledge is the greatest power in negotiating, and in all the instances above, one party is handing the other a piece of information that they shouldn't. And when that information details time pressures that the other party is experiencing, it tells you a lot.

How you act on the information you've received is up to you. Sometimes you'll just stand your ground with more confidence knowing that the other party is likely to cave because they're in a rush. Other times you'll offer something that helps the buyer manage their time pressure in return for finalising the deal. Or maybe you'll increase the offer on the table to include additional items that help the buyer deal with their time pressure (if you're selling real estate, this could be a shorter settlement in return for finalising the sale at the price you are offering, rather than the lower price the buyer is asking for). However you react, the point is that the information about time pressure is valuable and a skilled negotiator will act on it, whereas a poor negotiator will ignore it.

If you have any questions about the information contained in this week's article, feel free to email me at If you'd like to know more about Kingfisher's services visit We have a special offer at present for anyone interested in digital marketing. You can get our Google Health Check for free just by visiting The reports are first in, best dressed as we only do one a week, so jump on our site and fill out your details today.

Back to other posts