The term SAM is used here as an anagram representing the three distinct parts of dealing with the other side in a negotiation. S stands for “stand”. A stands for “area of concern”, and M is for “motivation”… it is the M that we are striving to address in a negotiator.
Most people will clearly identify the “S”. The stand usually takes form of a position such as “I will never pay that much“, or “Are you crazy? You want me to agree to that!”. Think of the “S” as the tip of an iceberg. Anytime you hear an “S” immediately understand that there is 90% of the issue yet to be identified and dealt with. The problem is that an inexperienced negotiator will attempt to deal right away with the “S” which usually results in nothing more than an argument.
The suggested next step is to acknowledge the “S” (I hear your concern… tell me more about that) and proceed to to understand the “A”. Asking open ended questions will often result in a better ability to handle the issue. “I won’t pay more than $X” may reduce to “I don’t get paid until the fourth Wednesday of the month,” and today is the first Tuesday. More importantly, the “A” will usually lead to the underlying “M”. An “M” may boil down to “I made that mistake in the past and I came off looking like a fool.” The motivation isn’t the money, it’s appearing foolish or laughable… now it’s addressable.
Bottom line is… choose not to react to the “S.” Identify it as something indicating a deeper presence. Ask intelligent questions and deal with the “M.”
If you’d like more SAM… call BOB.