Trading—Your Wording and Tradables
Episode #5 of the course Negotiation skills by Chris Croft
It’s an important lesson today: how to get to an agreed finish point somewhere in between your opening offer and theirs.
Unilateral Movement vs. Trading
There are only two ways that you or the other person can move, and those are either unilateral or by trading.
Unilateral movement is where you just say, “Oh, all right then, I’ll give you 10% off” (if you’re selling), or, “How about if I paid you another $30?” (if you’re buying).
Never do this! The problem is that it makes you look weak, and it invites the other person to just ask for more, with either, “10% off isn’t enough, I want 20%,” or the more horrible, “10% isn’t enough, you’ll have to offer me a better deal than that.”
The BEST case you can hope for if you concede unilaterally is that when you offer them another 10% off, they’ll say “Okay, done,” and even then, you could have done better because you could have traded something for that 10%, like this: “If you take two items, then I could give you 10% off, how about that?”
Every time you move your position, you must trade—always get something back for any concessions you give. At least then, you get something back for every concession, and sometimes the thing you get back—in my example, it was selling two items—might be MORE valuable to you than the 10% discount you had to concede!
“If you … then I …”
Your wording for every trade should always be, “If you … then I …” The reason for this is that THE OTHER PERSON has to concede first, which then makes it possible for you to concede; otherwise, you can’t. You’re not risking the response, “Sorry we can’t order, but we’ll have that extra 10% that you’ve just revealed you can give,” because the 10% discount was only made possible because of their concession.
And remember that the buyer could have also offered the same trade with the same wording: “If you give me 10% off, then I’ll order two.” The process is exactly the same for both parties in the negotiation.
A List of Tradables
You should always prepare a BIG list of tradables before the negotiation. You don’t want to be scrabbling around for ideas once you’re in there and under pressure. Your list gives you confidence and many options, so if they aren’t interested in some, then you can try others.
There are four questions you can ask yourself when making your list of tradables:
• What do I want that they can easily give?
• What might they want that I can easily give?
• What can I offer them that I can easily give?
• What could they easily do for me?
The result of this is a bunch of ideas—and you only have to do the work once, as you then have the list forever, for every negotiation with this person or anyone similar.
Examples of tradables might be:
• booking further ahead
• quicker delivery
• flexibility of delivery time
• payment terms
• quantity ordered
• preferred supplier
• exclusive supplier
• buying more than one
• buying other services
After you have your list of tradables, you would ideally think about which ones you MUST have and the value of the others: which ones you really WANT and you would pay quite a bit for, and which ones would just be nice to get if you can.
Do all this thinking before you negotiate, and it’ll be easy once you’re in there.
Start now! Make a list of tradables and put values against each one.
I’ll see you tomorrow for Lesson 6, which is about the size of steps to take when you are moving.
Bye for now!
Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman
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