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2010-11-30 16:34:01

Negotiating Tip: Response Strategy

Hello Good Negotiators

When negotiating we seem to spend a great deal of time preparing an initial offer or proposal. Once conveyed, we then eagerly await for a response from our opponent.

But how prepared are we to respond to our opponent's response.

Since most initial offers are rejected, all or in part, shouldn't we plan far enough ahead to have a "respond to a response"

strategy? Good chess players plan multiple moves ahead. If we anticipate possible responses we might receive, we could truly have a more effective response strategy.


Response Strategy


What do we do when someone reacts to our proposal by saying:

1. Yes

Consider conveying an immediate "thank you" followed immediately by confirmation comments relating to how this is a "fair and good deal" for everyone. Add a kicker, if possible, by saying "I'll be sure and recommend your (product/service) to my

friends/associates." This tends to minimize the concern of your

opponent who may think he has made too large a concession by saying 'yes'. After all, we don't want them to have 'acceptance remorse'.


Now if the "Yes" follows some extensive, back and forth bargaining, be sure follow your "thank you" with a compliment aimed at their negotiating skills. Telling someone they are a good or tough negotiator seems to minimize possible 'acceptance remorse' and even hints that they probably got the better of this deal.

2. No

One effective and often overlooked response to a "No" is to simply ask again. It is amazing how frequently a second request for the same thing can yield positive results. If one's proposal is reasonable and has been made in a courteous and professional

manner, acceptance often follows a second request. Almost

everyone can (and does) say "No" once. But can they endure a second request? Many can't. If you are a parent, you know that your children had success in asking for the same thing, multiple times while ignoring your initial "No". Persistence and repetition tends to works for adults too, especially if it is positioned as a planned response strategy.

If you're trying to lower your cost or have someone waive certain fees, don't give up at the first "no." Plan in advance to share the reasons you should get what you're asking for and follow that up with a leading question. For example: "What can you do to help me lower the cost (or have this fee waived)?"

Don't use closed questions that can be easily answered with a "yes"

or "no." Instead press them for suggestions or ask them for "what else" or "how" we can make this work for us both. If no suggestions seem forthcoming, press on (like our kids do) and ask "Are you sure?"


Always keep in mind that an appropriate response strategy can be to just walk away from the negotiations (either temporarily or permanently). Do not let momentum draw you into a bad deal.

Negotiations can almost always be rejoined later if broken off cordially.

Good negotiators are always thinking and planning one or two steps ahead. They have a tendency to plan response strategies that can produce more win-win results.

KEEP Negotiating.

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