Business people assume that making the first offer during a negotiation is a bad move. Is it? Can they take advantage if you’re the one to ask for a deal first? It certainly depends on your negotiation skills. Mastering the art of bargaining demands a lot of time and effort, and without experience on the battle field you won’t be able to succeed.
Don’t be the one to makes the opening offer unless you’re confident you can win
If you make the first offer, you’ll be forced to adopt a defensive behaviour regardless of what happens next. Your opponents might take advantage of your position from the first few seconds, and you surely don’t want that to happen. Still, if you’re confident you can win, do it. As long as you have leverage and you know that your product is unique, they’ll eventually give in.
Cringe at their offer
In business, flinching at an offer usually means that one of the two partners of a negotiation is unsatisfied. It can be used as a strategy and it’s an excellent way to keep negotiating. It’s definitely a step you need to follow whenever you want to save money or get something more in return. As soon as your counterparts will see that you’re scowling, they will adopt a defensive behaviour and they’ll begin to doubt the value of their services. This strategy is also designed to soften up a negotiation. People usually flinch because they want to see how much they can bargain. The results are indeed remarkable, but try not to go over the limit as your counterpart might take back his initial offer and walk away. You don’t want that to happen.
The ‘my wife’ solution
This strategy can bring amazing results, even though it’s sometimes referred to as the “my wife” solution. For excellent outcomes, it must be used wisely. Let’s say you’re negotiating the purchase of a car and that you’re happy with the price offered by the other party. However, as much as you want to take the offer, you can’t because you don’t have your ‘wife’s’ permission. You come back to the dealership a couple of day later and you start blabbing that your wife thinks the price is too high, even if you think it’s ok. In the end, the salesperson will give in and he may come up with a better offer to please the wife too. The same principles apply in business, and the results are incredible when the technique is properly managed.
Prove that you are willing to walk away
The strategy is used on a regular basis by skilled negotiators who want to prove their point of view. If you want to convince your counterparts that they might not get a deal at all, prove them your willingness to walk away. However, this strategy should be used carefully. For example, if you want to buy a new car you need to look interested in closing the deal and then tell the salesperson that you want more time to think about the offer. Once they see that you’re ready to leave even if you’re extremely interested, they will compromises to make you to accept their offer.
Expand the Pie
If you think you’re creative enough, this technique will blow your mind. It forces you to think of options that are not part of the current deal, and it involves a bit of friendly manipulation of your counterpart. Let’s go back to the car sale example. You want to buy a car and you’ve almost reached an agreement with the dealer. The offer looks nice but you’re not sure you can afford the maintenance costs involved. Ask for a discount for the car’s oil changes and state loud and clear that you’ll accept the offer if they agree. You can try to apply the same principles in business as well, but try not to go over the edge with the extra requirements.
There are so many witty, creative, and spectacular negotiation techniques out there that it’s impossible for business people to know them all. In time, you’ll manage to expand your field of vision, and with a bit of courage you’ll end up closing deals you never thought you could.