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2011-07-25 22:30:42

Formulating Initial Offers

Hello Good Negotiators

We have all struggled to formulate our first offer or position.

Questions arise such as:  Should I be aggressive?  Should I be generous and reasonable?  How will my opponent react to my initial price or position?  We don't want to 'blow the deal' by getting off on the wrong foot.

Success Story:  Formulating Initial Offers


Let's get one thing on the table right up front.  If our opponent has any significant motivation to put a deal together, our initial offer, however aggressive, won't scare them off or be truly insulting.

Some people will feign disgust, outrage and even hostility when receiving our aggressive initial offer.  Most times that's just posturing and sound strategy on their part.  Trust me, motivated parties won't walk out.  They'll continue the bargaining.

Here's my suggestion for formulating initial offers.  Be respectfully aggressive!

When I say respectfully, I mean don't convey your initial offer with a confrontational tone or entitlement attitude.  On the contrary, add a courteous and softening touch.

For example, you want your neighbor to chip in on the cost of replacing a dilapidated boundary line fence between your properties.  You would be happy if they would pay for half of the materials and labor.  But your initial position (offer) will be 'respectfully aggressive'.  It might sound like this,

"Fred, I think we agree, it's time to replace this old fence.  You are more of an expert on such projects than me and I'd welcome your advice.  Knowing you're busy, I'd be happy to take on the task of coordinating the job if you would pick up the cost of the materials and we could split the labor costs.  Could that work for you?"

Be assured, Fred won't be insulted by your aggressive "you pay for ALL of the materials" position because you've couched the request so respectfully.  Your compliment and offer to coordinate the job won't go unnoticed.

Could such a strategy work for you in your negotiations?  Can you see ways to be more respectfully aggressive in your next negotiating encounter?

Good negotiators tend to be more aggressive with their initial offers.  They also temper that aggressiveness with respect and courtesy.  That's what makes them effective as they KEEP Negotiating.

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