My friend Cindy, who runs a training company, told me about an apparent negotiating technique I was not aware of: letting them sweat.
Cindy had prepared a proposal for a prospective client. Shortly after the client received the proposal, all communication stopped. Emails from Cindy's staff received no reply. Phone calls were not returned. Cindy was worried that something had gone wrong–until another client told her she was simply on the receiving end of a negotiating technique being touted these days.
The technique is to let the other person sweat. Let her sweat when her email gets no reply. If she worries enough about what might have gone wrong with the proposal, that worry will make her less confident and more eager to negotiate.
Letting them sweat is a perfect way to weaken relationships. When prospective clients do not reply to my email or phone calls, my concern is not what I might have done better in the proposal but whether I really want to work with someone who is noncommunicative and perhaps stressed out and disorganized. Rather than making me feel more eager to negotiate, I cool off, wondering where I might tighten my proposal to make working with a potentially difficult client more rewarding.
Cindy waited it out without sweating. Eventually the prospective client contacted her. Now everything needs to move quickly to meet the client's goals, which had been put on hold during the sweating time.
I would much rather work with efficient, communicative clients like the one I described in the post "An Efficient Way to Schedule Follow-Up." I prefer the path of efficiency and collaboration over the path of war with winning and losing.
What do you prefer?