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October 05, 2018

Negotiating Tip 3: That Good Deal Feeling

Four ways to help your opponent walk away feeling they got a good deal. 

Is it the Feeling or the Fact?

Which is more important or satisfying - to get a good deal or to simply feel you got a good deal? 

Some say that getting a good deal will typically elicit a good deal feeling.  I agree.  But consider, if one feels they got a good deal, when actually they didn't, aren't they happy too?

Don't underestimate the influence of feelings when negotiating. In this context, I'm not talking about your feelings but those of your opponent. How many opportunities are missed by negotiators who fail to properly influence the feelings of their opponent?

Here's my motto: I want my negotiating opponent, whenever possible, to walk away feeling good about the deal. Some disagree with me on this point. Some have the distorted objective to crush, humble and even humiliate their opponent.  

How misguided and even sad. Especially so when it takes so little to foster that good deal feeling in someone else.

During your next negotiation, be more attentive to building up the good deal feeling. You take the good deal but let them have that good deal feeling also.

Following are some hints and techniques to help establish that good deal feeling for your opponent.

1.  Don't be too quick to accept a proposal, even a good one. If you quickly accept something, without a significant pause, a flinch or consultation with others, you literally deny your opponent from thinking they got a good deal.  Accept quickly and your opponent will think they should have asked for more.

2. Compliment your opponent's negotiating skills. After a series of proposals and counter proposals, you realize you've reached the end of the concessions,  interrupt the discussions by saying, "Wow. You're a tough negotiator!"  Your opponent will immediately think their current position is a good deal for them whether it is or isn't. Complementing someone's negotiating skills is typically taken as an  "I surrender, you got the better of this deal." message.

3.  As per usual, employ a sincere and observable FLINCH upon receiving a proposal. That pained look, grimace, sigh or the comment such as, "Are you serious?" seems to tell one's opponent that they've gotten to us. Should we later accept that proposal, or one close to it, the good deal feeling is firmly planted in our opponent.

4.  Employ the time out. We tend to stay with a negotiation or bargaining session, without interruption, no matter what.  To stop, step away or take a break has the misguided reputation of 'blinking first' or 'being driven off'. In actuality, taking a break and rejoining the negotiations later causes both sides to rethink their current position and the prospects of putting a deal together. When we take the initiative to come back later, our opponent assumes they've won and adopts that good deal feeling.  The final terms, however, are still open for discussion.

Good negotiators focus more on fostering the good deal feelings for their opponent while negotiating a good deal for themselves.   

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