Mediate Your Way to a Sale

From Vivian Scott’s Conflicts Of InterestBlog

Sometimes trying to close a business deal feels more like a conflict than it does a negotiation. Rather than go head to head with a potential customer, consider using a few mediation skills instead. Namely:

1) Learn what your customer cares most about. Price? Commitment? Service? Ask open-ended questions and then listen until she’s finished speaking. Trying to address every issue immediately may have you answering the wrong questions.

2) Get creative. Sure, you have policies to follow but maybe it’s time to shake things up. Trial periods are a great way to try on new ideas without too much red tape.

3) Expand the bottom line. If it’s all about the money, consider ways you can show financial benefit by looking at the bigger picture. Will spending a little more on your product or service save your customer time or money in other areas?

4) Ask what it would take. Rather than sounding like a robot stuck on replay, set your features and benefits statements aside for a minute and ask what it would take for you to make the sale. You’ll learn pretty quickly if the window of opportunity is open or closed. Plus, the best ideas on how to structure future opportunities can come from uninterested customers!

5) Leave the door open for future business. If you don’t make this sale, continue to communicate with your customer until what you have to offer matches up with his needs. Even if he never buys from you, he may turn out to be one of your best advocates.


Vivian Scott

Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies.  She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success.  Through creative solutions… MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


Bite My Tongue

From Cinnie Noble's blog. One reference to the expression “bite my tongue” is “To forcibly prevent oneself from speaking, especially in order to avoid saying something inappropriate or likely to cause a dispute”. In conflict situations this...

By Cinnie Noble

Mediation Preparation: Strategize for the Joint Session

Civil Negotiation and Mediation by Nancy Hudgins IWhether you know in advance there will be a joint session or not, preparing for one just makes good sense. The mediation process...

By Nancy Hudgins

Taming Chaos: The Dynamics of Narrative and Conflict

"This article originally appeared in Track Two (Vol. 8 No. 1 July 1999) , a quarterly publication of the Centre for Conflict Resolution and the Media Peace Centre (South Africa)."...

By Lesley Fordred Green

Find a Mediator