Monday, March 30, 2009

The art of negotiation

I was contacted by an old friend of mine last month. He wanted me to help him on a client that needs a Sales and Inventory of their gift shop store, restaurant and an accounting system . He said that he is already having a difficulty with their other operations such as ticketing system and rentals of the companies facilities, Network cabling, Payroll system and web site of the company.

Every thing is well at first, but recently the client got mad because it is not finished (the web site and the ticketing system). On my part, I was not nervous at all because my programs are already finished and ready to use. In fact, their encoders that I instructed to encode the necessary data are not yet using my system. On the other hand, my friends system have many bugs in it. Since he is not really that experienced in programming and talking to other people. And to make matters worst, one of the supervisory staff and my friend are most of the time arguing on modification. They are like cats and dogs. I always find my self mediating between them. I felt like an ambassador. My friend also found out that this guy has a friend who is a web designer that he wanted to do the site of their company. To make the long story short, my friend and I, has this 50/50 chances of being remove from the project. My friend got very upset because he was humiliated and shout at in front of the many employees by the very big boss.

I always advised my friend that always keep a level head. Focus on the task at hand and do not try to promise or sweet talk the owner at first that you will accomplish all of the companies needs if you lack the man power, knowledge or experience to do so. Do not bite more that you can chew, estimate your capabilities and limitations. Do not be carried away by your emotions and let your anger get the best of you.

When I was just starting out as a programmer. I have committed a lot of programming mistake (who doesn't?) . One arrogant employee of our client said to me one "Are you just practicing on our comany?" ("Pinag pa-practisan mo lang ba ang companya namin?"). I did not blew up in anger and stabed him with the pen on my hand. Instead, I have just explained to him that "every company has its own sets of rules and conditons to follow. On the development stage of the software that is tailered for your company, it is very much understanable to encounter a few errors. If you have encoutered them, then just show it to me and I will gladly fix it."

If it is my fault, I will never denie it. Instead of pointing the fingers at others, I will appologise and start correcting it.

One time, a staff and my boss was talking and I was called. My boss said "Gio, tignan mo nga itong report kasi parang mali". I looked at the report for about 20 to 25 seconds and realise that it was my mistake. My boss said "Ano Gio? encoding error ba?" I replied.. "Ahhh hindi po sir eh.. error ko po, my mistake. Ayusin ko na po ito ngayon."

I have see many people looses their client or does not get a project because they seems arrogant to the owner or client. When negotiating, you must be always patient and courtious. You must choose your words carefully and study your product. So that if your prospect client ask you something, you will easily answer them.

When my boss is angry , his voice is still mellow. But his words are direct to the point, and it will hit your heart like a very sharp needle. But he always says those words in the right way and in the right tone that you will not be offended (kumbaga walang personalan, trabaho lang :D) . In my 7 years of knowing him, he never looses his temper.

I hope someday even just a portion, I could be like that.


rhardo said...

we the same kind of boos, sir gio. Calm, but direct to the point.

Gio Paredes said...

Ganun ba Rhardo?
I hope in the not so distant future, I could also be boss like that. :-)