Business India Style (part 2) Pricing & Negotations
In my last article I discussed the importance of knowing cultural differences in doing business with people of other countries or cultures. This article is a continuation of the next most important step of doing business India style the negotiations.
Indians are well known for being keen negotiators, experienced in bargaining and negotiating from a young age and is very much part of life in India. With a deep sense of duty and obligation to their families they negotiate to bring the best deal for the family, group or company rather than just for individual advantage. So, the skill of negotiation in bread in them and comes easily to them by nature.
If your business involves negotiations or not, keep in mind Indians don’t rush into a deal, it is a process that can take some time, if trust has not yet been established then concentrate your efforts on building rapport first before entering into negotations. Decisions are always made at the highest level. If the owner or Director of the company is not present at the meeting, the chances are this is the early negotiation stage and no decision with be reached that day. Make sure to do your homework and are able to supply your numbers and benefits. Through their networks, Indians are well prepared with data on competitive scenarios and prices. So you better make sure you are to. It is important to maintain an open, gracious style, never openly displaying anger or confrontation. This is considered highly rude and can kill a deal before it starts.
I discovered while in India that since bargaining and negotiations are part of there culture it is assumed the first price is always over priced and never accepted. So, keep this in mind when you are giving a proposal, have a cushion in your pricing to give you negotiation room. Expect that they will come back for a better price or additional items in order to close the deal. If you know your numbers you can both win by showing your willingness to negotiate and build a stronger rapport but not lose money on your product or services.
Indians view business decisions more as a process than as a contract, and may revisit items previously agreed upon, continuing to negotiate on any items previously left on the table. If this happens, graciously enter into talks and be well prepared for what you can and cannot do. Be aware that there may be changes. If you cannot make changes, apply firmness with grace.
When negotiating avoid high pressure tactics, do not be confrontational or forceful. Criticisms and disagreements should be expressed only with the most diplomatic style and wording. In Indian culture they are averse to saying “no” as it is considered rude, so listen carefully to their responses to your questions. Listen for comments like “We’ll see”, “I will try” or “possibly” the chances are they are saying “no” so its important to clarify whether or not you have a solid agreement, review and show patience and understanding, they are still non-committal.
Silence is a killer for Western businessman, we are so use to going 100 miles a minute, that a moment of silence feels like a decade, but in Indian culture contemplation is necessary and may take some time, so, don’t jump to conclusions maybe the trust factor is not there, so take this time to build your rapport and offer clarification. Many Western’s take silence as a no or that the price is to high and start to drop their price below there bottom-line to make the deal, in the meantime the prospect hasn’t even finished contemplating the original offer. If you do this, be prepared as you have just opening up negotiations again, as it will be thought there is more of a deal to be had and can slow down the sale process even more. Be patient and understanding know how low you can go before you even go to the meeting, don’t capitulate below this limit otherwise you might as well do it for free. You may get them as a regular client but the same will be expected every time, or even a better deal. How you conduct your first negotiation will set the precedent for all future negotiations and we are all in business to make money not lose money. To create a win/win proposition be firm, respectful and know what to expect and what is expected of you.
When negotiations end in success and the deal is complete, continue the relationship building with a celebration dinner. Indians are very social and appreciate people that are the same.