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December 9, 2018

Negotiating Tip 48: The Real Reason

The reason you hear is rarely the real reason someone acts as they do. We frequently observe people who are reluctant to reveal their true motivation or their real reason for doing (or not doing) something.

The Real Reason

Good negotiators aren't going to be adversely influenced by the first objection, the initial rejection or the unreasonable counter offer. 

Good negotiators recognize that there is almost always another reason (motivation) lurking in the background. It's this reason that rules one's actions and causes them to respond as they do.

What if in the purchase of a piece of furniture a customer asks for a 'better deal' from the store manager? Perhaps the customer is simply asking for a $50 concession. The manager shares that the store policy is that their prices are firm....no negotiations.

We all know that this is a 'man-made' policy and the 'right man' can change the policy.

Using the 'real reason' concept, the customer could pull the manager aside and seek information in a somewhat confidential manner. He might say something like, "I know you stated your policy of 'no negotiation/prices are firm'. May I ask, what's the purpose of such a policy? Are you not open to finding a position that would satisfy both the customer, like me, and give you a fair profit too?"

Done tactfully, such an approach typically causes the manager to wonder if his policy is sound. Best of all, it causes them to think, "How can I be negotiable with this customer and not abandon my policy?"

Concluding the real reason inquiry with a 'trade-off' proposal can often be very effective. It would sound like, "I respect your policy decision even if I'm puzzled by the policy itself. How about this, I'll agree to your stated price if you can waive the delivery charge. I only live a few miles from here." 

Odds are such an approach will cause people to question the 'real reason' for a position or policy. That's all we need, just have them doubt their position momentarily and they're typically looking for a way to concede without appearing to cave in.

Remember this, behind every negotiation position, is a 'real reason' for that position that's other than what you're likely to hear.

Good negotiators are prepared to seek out that reason and use that inquiry to advance toward a win-win result.

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