Time flies, don't it? It's been a while since I've written anything over here at NamePros (or even at all). Life gets insanely busy, and even more so when you're juggling 7,485.37 things at once, but nothing like an early morning Hawaiian style inbound negotiation rant to kick things back into gear. Part 1 was about outbound, today, I want to talk about a few inbound negotiation "tactics" I either use or those that have been effectively used on me. In any form of sales, negotiations are where the magic happens. The domain name industry is no exception to this "rule". When an inbound offer comes in, it's up to you to control the situation, say the right things, have the right answers, and ask the right questions. But sometimes, you need to pull out different tactics for various types of potential buyers. As with anything, your results may vary. 1. The Human - I'm Your Best Friend The human approach is by far one of the most effective methods I've used during inbound negotiations. When someone reaches out to me or anyone to potentially acquire a domain name, the last thing they are expecting is a nice person with a sense of humor to pick up the phone and talk with them like they are best friends. People love that, and that closes deals. Why? Because when someone is happy, and having fun, they are likely to consider saying yes to just about anything (within reasonable limits of course). The best thing you can do is immediately hop on the phone with the potential buyer. Note, I only call customers I feel like can be human with me. Otherwise, I use other tactics. If you feel they are likely to be fun humans (based on your research) - PICK UP THE PHONE. Call them and say something like "Hi Name, thanks for taking my call. How are you?" Doesn't have to be word for word, but ask them how they are. Why? Because it's polite, and because they will likely ask you how you are doing in return. This is how you can show them you're human right off the bat. You can reply with this: "Oh you know, life is an interesting puzzle! Do you have any kids?" If they say yes, you can say something like: "Nice! How old? Did they scream endlessly when they were teething too? Haha! I can't remember the last time I slept!" If they say no, you can say something like: "Ah, I totally envy you right now, want to trade places for a few days? I could use the break!" Now you get the ball rolling, laughing, talking about whatever else and the conversation can naturally go from there in any direction. Just keep it fun, laugh, but DO NOT stop them, let them stop YOU when it's time for business. It could be immediately, or it could take an hour. You'll know when it's coming as there will likely be an awkward silence before the transition into the business talk. YOU stay 100% silent when this happens, let them break the silence... they will if you don't. Once they do, you can use different closing techniques. Let's say they ask something like this "Ali, you seem like a reasonable guy, what's the best price you can do for this domain?" And since you already have rapport with them, you can reply as such: "Everyone that has asked me for it has been quoted $5k. And based on all my research, it's worth it. That being said, and I usually don't do this for anyone, but you seem like such a good person that I'd hate for you not to have this domain name. Tell you what, how about I cut the cost down to $3,250, that way you get to affordably own the domain forever, and I make a little money. But, you have to buy me lunch when I come check out your business one day. Sound fair?" Boom, deal closed. And at the very worst, if it doesn't close, who do you think they are going to refer their friends to down the line when they are ready to buy a domain name? YOU. because you were that awesome to work with. 2. The Jagaloon - Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again. I've had this technique used on me NUMEROUS times, and damn, it works well! But be careful, you WILL scare off the humans with this approach. For me, the jagaloon approach works best with larger assets. Because the domain WILL sell for a ridiculous price one day to someone, so essentially you "can be a jerk". The Jagaloon usually ignores your first few emails. Ignores all your offers, and doesn't give two #$^& about you. The only way they ever reply is if you slap them with a massive number and give them an ultimatum, and even then, they will BEAT YOU UP. I had this done to me recently on a client acquisition. I reached out and got nothing. I called and got nothing. Left messages, emails, nothing. The seller eventually decided to reply with "make an offer". So I did. No reply. Upped the price. No reply. Upped again. No reply. Until finally, the seller snapped and let me have it in an abusive way. Guess what that did? Drove the offer up again. Till finally I told my client that this guy will not sell unless it's for oil money, and my client said f' this, we're out. So, DO NOTE, that this is risky - but if you're a boss (and know the real value of your domain name - not just some price you made up) and don't need the cash, THIS IS THE WAY you get the most money for your domain. And this is just one example from an acquisition for someone else. One time I reached out and was immediately cussed out for asking the price... seriously, it was insane. I was called some pathetic loser who couldn't afford anything and so on. #NotHuman This approach happens all the time, for good reason, because it works. It keeps the low-ballers away and any major corporation with real funding who wants the domain doesn't care if you're a jagaloon, they just want the domain. Mostly it's about pushing boundaries, putting up walls, and making your "enemy" desperate enough that they make a decision based on emotion, rather than logic. Emotion can turn to big money, and when you toy with peoples ego's, their budgets seem to magically increase. I rarely use this method as it's destructive, but hey, when it works, IT WORKS. 3. The Automated Reply - "Hello, And Thank You For Calling Moviefone" Simple, straight to the point, no fluff. You can setup your domain name inquiries to have automated replies like: "Hello, Thank you for your interest in this domain name. It has been priced at $3,495, and you can buy it here (link). Best, Name" To me, this is the least personal method, but it's also the least time consuming and it can work for those that want to create a passive income stream that requires almost no real labor and limited contact with buyers. Put up landing pages with buy it nows, syndicate them through every channel(Afternic, Sedo, Flippa, basically list them everywhere), and wait. If you happen to get the email, point them to a buy it now page. Simple as that. 4. The Hybrid - The Jagaloon With A Heart. You use all three of the above. First, you go Jagaloon and not reply. For how long is dependant on you. If they email you and they don't follow up after a week or so, email them with your "automated reply" (except put a personal touch on it). Something like: "Hi Name, I'm out of town, apologies for the delay. The domain is listed for $3,495 and you can purchase it here (link). If you have any questions, feel free to give me a ring: 555-555-5555 Best, Name" The best thing that could happen is they click the link and you make a passive sale. Otherwise, they are likely going to call you, and you can utilize the human approach to get their minds off of the cost, and in a happy mood. That way, they are more likely to agree with your higher price since you have been so great. To Summarize This is NOT an end-all-be-all thing. This is just some of the things I've witnessed, experienced, and learned in my journey so far. These don't always work when you try them, but when they do, they work well. And of course, there are numerous other techniques, but the human approach has worked the best for me lately. The best thing you can do for yourself is to pick up some sales books, negotiation books, and psychology books to get a better understanding of human behavior, negotiation techniques, and sales tactics. That way, you can be 10 steps ahead of every prospect, have your "negotiation toolbox" handy (in your head..), and you can guide the negotiation however you feel will lead to the end result both parties want. What techniques have you used effectively?