It happens to the best of us. At the most inopportune time, you hear a knock at
your door, or a ring from your phone. A salesman. In my case last Friday night, it was a Kirby Vacuum Salesman. With a little smooth talk and a promise for a free room cleaning I let him in. What the heck, I was going to be cleaning for company coming soon anyway so I might as well let someone else do it right? Being a salesman myself I also like to hear a different sales pitch every so often. As he begins his pitch, I can pick apart every tactic: appeal to the one's safety, create demand, remove comparisons by raising the vacuum into a category of its own, calling the boss to approve a price etc... The guy was good, but when it comes down to it, no vacuum in the world is worth $1200.

So why talk about this in an ADR website you ask? This story reminded me of the importance of being about to communicate your interests in a negotiation or mediation to appreciate the results of said negotiation or mediation. The more the salesman began to talk, the more I began to feel that his opinions or facts were being forced upon me. The simple fact is, he didn't want me to have a chance to think if I really needed this vacuum, or if I would have a chance to to ask about the warranty process, the company history, the cost of replacement bags and so on. If one bought this vacuum, I would think that they would be feeling a little buyers remorse.

So the next time one is a mediation or negotiation remember:
Am I being forceful and pushing my definitions on the other parties? Are they being pushed on me?
Am I going to feel good about this tomorrow morning? (A good theory to live by in any situation)
Are my interests being heard?

While this product may be worth it in the long run (after all he said it was the last one I would ever have to buy) and the price was dropped to an unbelievable $850, I decided to pass this time. The sales call was worth it for me in the end. I did get my stairs cleaned, and a reassurance that interest based negotiation and mediation is much more fair and safe. Can't blame the guy for trying though.



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