Sleep over before making a decision

By Younas Chaudhary

I cannot emphasize enough that hasty and knee-jerk reactions in finalizing a deal often cause long-term pain. We are wired to make small and major decisions throughout our lifetime, but we forget that they come in multiple layers of thoughts.

Whenever we take quick decisions under pressure without reflection, we suffer long-term consequences. Let us unpack the different parts of an agreement and consider why a pause and sleep-over before making a decision can yield great opportunities and high returns.

As human beings, we commonly make verbal commitments and agreements. But when it comes to solidifying a deal, we must do it in writing, whether it is with a friend, a family member, or a business partner.

The intricate details of a deal need to be negotiated and understood by the parties with clarity in writing, because mere oral statements made under strong emotions, or made under the pressure of deadlines, will come back to haunt us later.

At the same time, waiting too long before finalizing a deal is also undesirable. Therefore, moderation is critical to a successful decision-making process. 

I learned this lesson the hard way. I have made hasty business decisions multiple times in my business life and have paid heavily for it. Once, I was working on a settlement involving multiple parties. Our team of lawyers could not work out a deal despite negotiating all day long. But we were close to reaching a deal, so all the parties decided to stay late to finalize it. Things didn’t work out the way we wanted, and even after 8 pm there was just a cautious hope that we could sign an agreement. As the night dragged on, we were all worn out.

By that point, I was tired and unable to concentrate anymore, as this was a complex agreement. Because of that, we missed reading some key parts of the agreement, and I signed off on it sometime after 10pm. I made this hasty decision out of a needless commitment to get the agreement completed on the same day.  Ultimately, the agreement turned out to be unfavorable for us, and I learned one key lesson: Pause, reflect, and sleep over it.

Why should we pause before finalizing a deal when we are unsure of our decision? The answer is simple: It could save you lots of money and give you peace of mind later. When we are pressured to finish off an important agreement by the end of the day, we have a tendency to focus on the deadline and “get it done.” We get tired and worn out, and in that state, we do not concentrate or make clear decisions.

In such situations, confusion and clutter take over precise thinking and deep analysis. We are prone to making big mistakes when we are forced to make decisions under duress or looming deadlines.

Therefore, it is important for us to bide our time and reflect on our decisions, whether we are buying a new or a used car or signing off on a deal worth millions of dollars. We know how car salesmen make deals. Decades ago, I learned their trick as a door-to-door salesman selling kitchenware. As a salesperson you are taught that you need to make a deal in the first interaction, or you will lose the deal. That is why as soon as you enter the car lot, a good car salesman will have a decision in mind for you. Why does this happen? It’s because they are trained to close a deal in their favor, and not to give you time to sleep over the deal!

So, how do you deal with this kind of situation, especially if you are a new immigrant to this wonderful country? The tactic is to insist on taking your time and to feel totally comfortable and unashamed in doing so.

Car dealers make bigger profits from fancily structured financial agreements, sales of maintenance services, protective paint, and selling you loads of unnecessary items.  For that reason, in your first meeting with a car salesman, secure the key terms of his offer in writing: the total price, any discounts, any exclusions, the interest rate, and the monthly payment. Once you start haggling with them for a reduced sale price, they will tell you stuff like “the manager is tough” or “let me talk to our chief financial officer,” at which point some of them who are desperate to make a sale just go hang around somewhere for a few minutes and then return.

People from all walks of life fall into this trap, thinking that the car salesman is doing them a big favor. Instead, go home, sleep over it, focus on what would be a better deal for you, compare it with other auto dealers, call around, and negotiate terms that are fair and reasonable to you.

Noted marketing expert Brian Tracy tells us that “all the top salespeople ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers. One of the most important skills of listening is simply to pause before replying.” I would advise you to take that advice as a customer, and rather than hastily deciding on the terms that the salesman wants you to agree to, pause, analyze, sleep over it, and then make a decision. 

If you are young, I would strongly encourage you to seek counsel from an experienced negotiator before making hasty decisions. They will advise you to sleep over, think through, and analyze a situation before coming to a conclusion. To summarize, here are a few key thoughts concerning the importance of sleeping over decisions whenever you are confused, unclear, or under pressure to give a response:

  • Always secure the deal in writing.
  • Read. Read. Read the agreement in depth. Also, ask others in your team to go through it, and have your legal team review the agreement documents thoroughly.
  • Hasty decisions will cost you money, waste your time, and damage your reputation in the long run.
  • Never agree to all the terms offered in your initial meetings. Take time to carefully read, re-read, make edits, and understand different parts of the agreement.
  • Know your hard-out and pain points, as well as those of the other party.
  • Struggling to make a decision? Buy time, go home, sleep over it, and return with an agreement that you are comfortable with.

My last but most important piece of advice to you is to use this sentence often: “I will get back to you.” Do not feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, or weak when using this sentence.

You have every right to take your time, and if the other party cannot wait, it is prudent for you to walk away from the deal!

Find out more about me in my best-selling book “From Dirt Roads to Black Gold.” Note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help people in need through my foundation, the YBC Foundation.

Stay tuned for Tip 9: Avoid the slick salesman.

Disclaimer

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.  Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and the reader is advised to consult other advisors as well as his own judgment in making business decisions.