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Industry, Education

March 23, 2019

Negotiating Tip 108: The Concession Mechanism

Four Purposes of a Concession

Don't dust off your 'white flag'!  This Concession Mechanism isn't the vehicle where we intend to give up or cave in.  Too many of us get obsessed with winning,  not giving an inch or fearing the shame of giving something away.

Did you know that giving a concession has four (4) purposes?  

Knowing these will change your perspective on strategically granting a concession. 

  1. Concessions, communicated properly, can uncover WHAT one's negotiating opponent really wants.  Concessions loosen their tongue and somewhat soften their defenses. Routinely their conversation centers on their core or key objectives....what they really value and want.
  2. Concessions tend to bring out HOW MUCH our opponent is seeking.  Many times this is revealed with the 'what' (#1 above).  If not, a concession can prompt others to quantify, with more specificity, their position in response to a follow up question.  Such as "What would work for you?" or "How much are we talking about?"
  3. Concessions help us to learn HOW BADLY our opponent wants something.  Uncovering our opponent's motivation is always the good negotiator's edge.  Again, asking questions might be necessary.  "Why?" or "What's your thinking?" questions encourage people to share their motives. By gauging someone's motivations we can quickly determine if we have a chance to achieve that win-win result.
  4. The last purpose of giving a concession is that we can better determine what our opponent is WILLING TO GIVE UP in order to achieve an agreement

You have probably noticed that these four purposes of granting a concession are interrelated.  But identifying them individually helps us strategize and identify targeted information we need to have.

"Priming the pump" might be the best way to think of concession granting.  

Don't give away the store but, posing that famous good negotiator question,  

·    "What would you think if I would ...give ______ to you?  or _____ for you?"  

Such questions greatly enhance our opportunity to achieve the four purposes simply by making a conditional commitment.

Think positive thoughts about The Concession Mechanism and focus on those four purposes as you KEEP Negotiating.

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