Have you ever experienced a high-pressure sales situation and heard these words?
One-day sale only! This is a one-time offer than will not be repeated!
Accept this offer now because I cannot guarantee it can be made again.
In all cases the time is being positioned as your enemy. It is the oldest negotiating trick in the book. In reality, time is your friend.
If you are experiencing time as an enemy in your business and personal transactions, how can you change your relationship with it and make it your friend? In the same way you do it in relationships with people. Invest or sow into the relationship. Be proactive. Gather relevant information. Some examples to illustrate the point:
Buying a car
When shopping for a major purchase such as a car, apparent incredible offers are often advertised for particular vehicles. This can be amplified if you visit a dealership in person when aggressive salespeople will position the car of your dreams to you at a particular price at a specific time. You can very quickly get in a situation where you feel you must buy now to secure the great deal because time is running out on the offer. In this case the seller is controlling the time element of the transaction and you are on the defensive.
To change this situation, do the research ahead of time on the car you want. Decide on model, year, mileage and your price range in advance. Check out various sale prices from dealers and private sellers. Invest the time in advance to increase your confidence in what you are willing to pay for what vehicle. By making an investment of time up front you have flipped the tables on a future seller since you are not in a rush to buy and are waiting for the right deal to come along that meets your criteria. By investing it in advance time is your friend and is now the seller’s enemy.
Traditional processes for job searches or career changes typically involve the person seeking the new job or career change responding to a job posting or opening when it is available and made known. Usually an application deadline is involved or a limited time period when an opening is available until the hiring manager must fill the position. Think about this scenario and who is controlling the timeline of the process. Time becomes the enemy of the applicant since he or she must meet the conditions set by the hiring manager or company.
Now consider a completely different scenario where the job seeker invests the time up front to research a desirable position, builds a customized CV that fits the position and takes the initiative to approach the hiring manager or organization. I have coached several young men in this process and encouraged them to book meetings with either their target manager or the organization and personally research the possible fit. One of the messages I suggest they communicate is that they are looking for a career change in the near future, that they are interested in the position and/or organization and believe that they would be a great fit. Of course, it is important that they have done enough research to answer the question “Why?” should it be asked. The desired impression is that they are a very qualified resource that is currently available but only for a short time. Who is in control of the timeline here? Time is the friend of the job seeker and may not be for the hiring manager or organization. I have seen significant results and new jobs and careers come out of this simple technique.
These simple examples are not guarantees of success in any way but point out how changing the perspective toward time in a major financial or business situation can produce positive results. In addition to these examples, here are some quick guidelines of key questions to ask when you feel time pressure or that time is your enemy:
- Is this a legitimate time pressure situation? Note that some of these situations are unavoidable (e.g. one day airline seat sale) however if you’ve done your research in advance you’ll know whether it is a good deal or not.
- What is the worst-case outcome if I delay this decision? Often there is no significant negative outcome by waiting and considering the decision more thoroughly.
- Is this purchase a desire/want or a need? Skilled marketers play this string regularly by convincing buyers that a desire/want is a must have need.
- Do I know enough about this situation to make an informed decision? If the answer is no or anxiety comes to the surface, back off and invest the time in research.
If time is your enemy, you have your priorities wrong. Time is your friend if you invest it wisely.