On December 18, 2013, “Il mio amico vecchio” (Italian for “good old friend”) Steve Coscia posted a very kind blog piece https://www.coscia.com/christmas-listening about our relationship. Steve and I are personal and professional friends who share many experiences and characteristics but one “seeming” difference” is that he practices on the demand side in customer service and I practice on the supply side or purchasing and negotiation.
Steve noted that I speak several foreign languages. In many ways, this communication skill has contributed mightily to negotiation success. For example, take French, my native tongue. It is called the “language of double entendres” for a literal, not a figurative reason.
Many words sound the same in French because of pronunciation. The verb endings “er”, “et”, “ez”, and “é” (accent aigu) are all pronounced as “AY”. On the other hand, the verb ending “aient” is silent! It is how the language works. Contrast that to Italian where the verb endings are so precise and pronounced that there is no need to use the personal pronoun; the ending identifies the person and tense.
Because of this confusion over what is being said, French speakers must often ask questions to clarify meaning. This habit has helped me in negotiation because I constantly ask for clarification so I am certain what is being said.
My older daughter used to explain her embarrassment over her father’s affliction for not knowing what was being said by telling her friends, “Although my father can speak many languages, he can’t understand anything in any of them!” It was comical but true.
We are not so different
When Steve and I discussed the “Three Levels of Meaning” http://purchasingnegotiationtraining.com/negotiation/the-three-levels-of-meaning/ in verbal communication, as he noted in his post, it flashed back to my engrained habit. Then it clicked with me just how important negotiation is to customer service.
Negotiation is not the exclusive province of buyers and sellers. Indeed, the negotiations between customer service pros and customers are as vital. When you are engaging your customer, solving their problems, and deflecting conflict, you are negotiating.
You may not be selling but you are paving the way for continued sales with your negotiation skills. Why not be better at negotiation?
The Science and Art of Negotiation
Online learning is economical and convenient. My online negotiation course has been expanded to a 5-7 hour self-running course that you can take at our convenience. As a business associate related to Steve, you can take this course at a 20% discount. Go to The Science and Art of Negotiation and use this coupon code, TSPAIRYN. You will also get my negotiation book FREE in the mail.
If you have any negotiation questions after taking the course, contact me at RobertMenard@RobertMenard.com