September '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 4 P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9 Your Personal Business Trainer BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Adding an enhancement means that instead of giving your custom- er what she asks for, you add value to your proposal in some other way. Optimally, the enhancement should be of low-cost to you and high perceived value to the customer. For example, let's say the original offer was for a two-month, full re- fund, satisfaction guarantee policy. The customer needs a one-year guarantee. If the final deal is for a two-month, full refund guarantee agreement, but the customer can return defective items for replace- ments within 12 months, you've added an enhancement. Chances are there will be nearly no defects because your quality is superior to your competition, thus, you are tak- ing a minimal risk in offering the enhancement. When you split the difference, you and your customer find a mu- tually acceptable middle ground somewhere between what you pro- posed and what she needs. Often, this middle ground is exactly halfway between your two positions, but it doesn't have to be. A case of splitting the difference could be where your initial offer called for terms of "Net 30 days," but the customer states she needs "Net 60 days" payment terms. You both agree and accept terms of "Net 45 days." Making a concession describes exactly what takes place in many negotiations, and un- fortunately, occurs far too often. It is giving the customer what she needs and getting noth- ing more in return. Understand that making concessions can jeopardize the profitability of the sale or the sales organization's reputation for honoring its commitments along with setting bad precedence for future negotiations with this client and others. Try to save this alternative for the end of the negotiation when there is only a trivial gap between you and the customer. JUST WALK AWAY If you spend any time negotiating, you will encounter situations where your needs and those of your customer are simply incompatible. Know before going into a negotiation with a specific set of conditions when no combination of alternatives will be able to produce an agreement where no one loses. In such situations, it is better to walk away from the deal than to come away with a losing agreement. Walking away may appear to be a negative action, but, in reality, it reinforces your commit- ment to being a fair-but-firm negotiator, and it should not prevent you and your client from doing business in the future. The next time you detect your business is close to landing a big deal but you find that there is still a gap between the two parties, take the time to ensure all four criteria have been reached, a significant number of pos- sible alternatives have been identified and thoroughly evaluated, and the negotiator is fully aware of his/her options and authority. Good luck! PW Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought- after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on business develop- ment and management subjects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to improve profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to

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