Summary: Arranging for a counterpart to visit one’s site or the site of another customer.
Any time you can get your counterpart to leave her office and visit your site or the operation/installation of one of your customers, you obtain leverage. One reason this approach works so beautifully is that it also employs the tactic of Investing Time by getting your counterpart to spend time and energy on the negotiation, which raises her level of commitment. A second reason this tactic is effective is that it gives you the opportunity to show your counterpart how well the item you’re selling works in real life. This enables your counterpart to envision herself using your product or service.
A contractor invites a potential customer out to an office he recently renovated. The customer is happy with what she sees and can picture the changes she wants done in her building.
To protect herself, the buyer needs to make sure she has the ability to walk away from the other office without feeling obligated to make a decision on the spot. This ability to walk away will help maintain balance in the negotiation. To make sure she has all the facts, the buyer could plan her own Field Trip (possibly to another office renovated by a competitor). The more knowledge she gains about the competition and the contractor’s work, the better off she will be. She might even seek out customers who are dissatisfied with their work. Any information she acquires will help her gain leverage if she decides to continue negotiating with the first contractor.
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?