McBride for Business Blog

Ethical Selling: Fair Negotiations

June 12, 2018 // R. Shawn McBride // No Comments »

***NOTE: This is part of a multi-article series on ethics in selling. The Our Shawn provides keynotes and other programs on ethical selling and he brings you some of his thoughts and findings here. Make sure you check out all of the articles at our blog. If you need more assistance call us for an appointment.***

What will you say in a negotiation?  What won’t you say?

This is a very interesting question. And it’s a real question or what is ethical in the negotiation context.

We all know it’s expected that you might lie in a negotiation. Everyone expects that the other party might shade information. For instance, many suspect the car dealer is having a coffee in the back when they are “talking to the manager.”

Even lawyers – who can get in professional trouble or disbarred for lying in other contexts – are allowed to lie in negotiations in most states.  More on that here. (Many of you know I am a lawyer).

So where do we draw the line in our negotiations?

Is lying unethical?

I think there is an element of personal style that is relevant here. Each person might have a slightly different take on negotiations – and how much lying is “fair” and “right”.  Meanwhile you must remember this because your counterparty might draw the line in a different place. They might, for instance, allow for more misinformation than you would think is fair or right.

Putting processes in place: my working rule

My personal rule is that I am open to hiding information that is mostly pricing information – things like my budget and ability to pay. I believe this to be normal because everyone expects to negotiate on price and neither side usually has access to the others’ financial statements.

I do not like to misrepresent service information – experience, abilities, etc. These things will be found out anyway and they are so fundamental to the deal they shouldn’t be hidden. Also lying about these will often be illegal (in addition to unethical).

I keep these rules and my personal ethical lines in mind whenever I negotiation for myself of my clients.

Beware of the slippery slope

One of the scariest parts of lying is whether lying will continue or get ingrained in culture. It’s easy to start with a small lie (the amount of money you have in budget) and start moving into bigger lies (like your ability to deliver).

For this reason you want to be very intentional in where your lines are and monitoring your actual actions.

And that’s why stopping and thinking about ethics is so important for you and your team. If you role play and anticipate potential slip-ups in advance you will likely have less slip-ups. But the converse is true too — without good simulation and preparation for likely situations you and your team might make bad decisions in the heat of battle because things are just moving too quick.

The time is now!

The time to get good and practice your ethics is now – not later.

Start thinking of the situations you are likely to face and how you will respond.

What are you doing to prepare?

If it helps you we offer training and speaking on these topics.  Give us a call or drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can help you.

The Our Shawn

If you aren’t following me on LinkedIn I do a number of business topic videos there.  Sign-up to follow me.

P.S.  If you are enjoying our tips and know a friend that needs advice that will challenge and improve their thinking on business forward them this and have them sign-up here.

P.P.S.  I addition to these regular business tips I also send tips to help those that want to Do Business in the United States. If this is something you – or a friend – would love to hear about sign up for yourself or have your friend sign-up here.

Republication:  Permission to reprint this article by McBride For Business, LLC at no charge is hereby given to all print, broadcast and electronic media provided that authorship is attributed to The Our Shawn (R. Shawn McBride), McBride For Business, LLC, and, 1111 S Akard St #100, Dallas, TX 75215 on the following conditions (1) organizations publishing articles electronically, a live, clickable link to and must also be included with the body of the article, (2) one copy of your publication must be mailed to McBride For Business, LLC, 1111 S Akard St #100, Dallas, TX 75215, and (3) a bio of The Our Shawn (R. Shawn McBride) must be included – The Our Shawn (R. Shawn McBride) is a speaker and trainer on how to Do Business Effectively(TM) including Time Magicment(TM).  Permission is granted for reasonable editing for (1) content and industry specific examples or terms, (2) length, or (3) title change.

Affiliate Notice: We may have affiliate arrangements with some third parties and we may receive payment for recommending their products or services.  We do not knowingly recommend any products or services we do not believe in.

Posted In: Business

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons