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December 19, 2018

Negotiating Tip 58: Cushion The Price

What “cushion phrase” works for you?

Set it Up!

Good salespeople have known for years that it's important to "set up" the price quote.  Without a few well-chosen words, shared before the price quote, the reception is almost always negative.  Some call it sticker shock; most see a flinch.  But this negative reaction can certainly be minimized, if not eliminated, by injecting a cushion phrase or two just before disclosing or stating the price.

Let's put it simply in the form of a rule. 

Never state an asking price (as a seller) or an offered price (as a buyer) without prefacing it with a cushion phrase.

What do you say to a buyer when you want to sell an item for $100?
 

  • Option 1:  "I want $100 for this."  (Or worse yet, "Will you give me $100 for this?")
 
  • Option 2:  "I know these things cost over $300 new.  I was thinking that this is worth every bit of $200, but for you - right now - I'd consider accepting $100."


Do you think there will be a difference in the value perception and response of the buyer depending upon which option you choose?

What do you say to a seller when you want to buy something for $100?
 

  • Option 1:  "I'll give you $100 for that." Or "Will you take $100?"
 
  • Option 2:  "I've found a couple of these that I could purchase for around $65.  But yours is in better condition and it's obvious that you've taken good care of it. I'd be willing to pay you between $90 and $100, if that could work for you."


Again, wouldn't there be a substantial difference in price reception, simply based on the few words or phrases offered in advance of quoting the price?  You may not get the price you want, but those cushion words will certainly set up future bargaining in your favor. 

Good negotiators make it a habit to preface every price quote with a cushion phrase that significantly influences the reception that price receives.  Shouldn't you do the same as you KEEP Negotiating?

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