Nibbling is how you can get more out of a deal

Nibbling is how you can get more out of a deal
Image Credit: Ludie Cochrane

So there is a very interesting question that all too often I think that we negotiators just don’t take the time to answer: when is a negotiation over? Your gut reaction is probably to say when the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques have been put away and the deal has been signed by both sides of the table. However, it turns out that although that’s an important stage, when that occurs the negotiations are by no means over yet.

The Art Of Nibbling

As a negotiator, your goal has to be to get the most out of every deal that you are involved in. The standard way that we go about doing this is to debate the various issues associated with the deal with the other side of the table. We give a bit, they give a bit and in the end we both create a deal that we can live with. That deal gets signed by both sides and then an opportunity opens up for you to get more.

The way that you go about doing this is by what we like to call “nibbling”. Nibbling is the process of asking the other side for something that goes beyond the agreement that has just been signed. You’ll want to pose your nibble as if the thing that you are requesting is really a given – both sides already planned on doing this and you are just confirming that it’s so.

It is important to understand that the process of nibbling is not considered to be an unethical practice. You need to understand the by nibbling you are not insisting that the other side do something for you, you are just making a request. Make your request in a nice way and you will have done no harm to the negotiations. Do not ask to change some part of the deal that has just been signed – that would be unethical.

How To Prevent Someone From Nibbling On You

As a negotiator, it is entirely possible that the next time that you sign a deal, the other side may not believe that the negotiations are over. Instead, they may now see it as an opportunity to start nibbling on you. The last thing that you really want to do is to give the other side anything more.

When someone start to nibble on you, you need to take defensive action. The good news is that there is an effective countermeasure that you can use against the other side when this occurs. What you are going to want to do is to put a price on their nibble.

You can go about doing this by agreeing with what they’d like you to do. However, at the end of your agreement you need to provide them with a price that they will have to pay in order to get you to do it. What you’ll often find is that their interest in having the thing done goes down dramatically if it turns out that they will have to pay for it.

What All Of This Means For You

As people who are more famous than I am like to say, “It’s not over until it’s over”. In the world of principled negotiation, this is especially true. When the deal has been put on paper and both sides have signed it, this is when you can really start pushing the other side to provide you with more.

This all has to with what we call “the art of nibbling”. When you nibble, you make a request of the other side to provide you with something that was not explicitly promised in the deal. You don’t demand it, you just request it. If someone does this to you, you can agree to do it – for a price!

Taking the time to develop your nibbling skills can have a significant payoff for your negotiating skills. It turns out that things that you might not have been able to get during the negotiations may become available to you after the deal has been signed. Develop this skill and watch as the deals that you land become even more valuable.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How soon after the deal is signed do you think that the nibbling should start?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Ultimately, any negotiation is about control. Who has it, who wants it, who is getting it. You want to be the one who is in control of your next negotiation no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. However, how to make that happen is always the big question. It turns out that it’s actually pretty easy to seize control of your negotiation: all you have to do is to control its pace.

{ 0 comments }

You need to be able to communicate that you can go no further

You need to be able to communicate that you can go no further
Image Credit: bzhmatth

I sure do like negotiating! Man, I could negotiate all day long using all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that I’ve learned.. However, as you are well aware, in every negotiation that we participate in, there comes a time when we are done. We’ve given in as much as we are willing to do. Just exactly what should we do now to communicate to the other side of the table that we’re done?

That’s All I Can Do

When you’ve decided that it’s time to tell the other side of the table that you are all done negotiating with them, you’ve got a number of different ways that you can go about doing this. One of the most common is the “take it or leave it approach”. This is when you inform the other side that you are through talking with them. If they won’t say “yes” to the deal that is currently on the table then you’re done and you are going home.

The “take it or leave it” approach is a bit harsh. A much better way to go about doing the same thing is to use the “that’s all I can do” approach. The thing that you don’t want to do here is to create animosity with the other side. What you want to communicate is that you are not ending the negotiations. Rather, you are trying to tell them that this is the place where you have to stop.

What you are going to want to do is to draw line in the current negotiations. However, you are going to want to go about doing it in a nice way. By telling the other side “that’s all that I can do”, you are being almost apologetic about having to do this. With a little bit of luck, you’ll make the other side feel guilty about not having the ability to complete this deal with you.

Countermeasures

As negotiators we realize that that every tactic that we learn could be used against us someday. What this means is that we need to keep our eyes open for this tactic to be used by the other side of the table and if they do, then we need to be ready with an effective countermeasure.

The very first thing that you’ll want to do if someone uses the “that’s all I can do” tactic on you is to verify the limitations that they are talking about. Just because they say that this is all that they can do does not mean that it is so. What you are going to want to do is to ask some questions that are pointed. The purpose of this will be to challenge his or her statement that they can’t do any more.

If the other side is hesitant to reveal why they can’t do any more, feel free to become angry and state that you are starting to feel as though you’ve been wasting your time negotiating with them. As you push the other side more and more, what you may end up discovering is just exactly who on the other side is ultimately responsible for making the decisions regarding this negotiation.

What All Of This Means For You

In every principled negotiation that we are involved in, there comes a time when we have reached the limit of what we are willing to do. We are going to be unwilling to make any more concessions to the other side. When we reach this point, we need to be able to clearly communicate it to the other side.

The best way to go about doing this in a polite way is to simple tell them “that’s all that I can do”. Using this method allows you to keep the negotiations going. If the other side uses this tactic on you, you can counter by asking them to explain why they can’t do any more. This may lead you to a better understanding of who is really making the decisions on the other side.

In negotiating, sometimes it’s the simplest tactics that turn out to be the most powerful. Using this way to communicate to the other side of the table that you are done negotiating can be a very effective technique. Make sure that you use it carefully so that the other side fully understands what you are saying.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What do you think would be the best counter if the other side started asking you why you couldn’t go on?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So there is a very interesting question that all too often I think that we negotiators just don’t take the time to answer: when is a negotiation over? Your gut reaction is probably to say when the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques have been put away and the deal has been signed by both sides of the table. However, it turns out that although that’s an important stage, when that occurs the negotiations are by no means over yet.

{ 0 comments }

Hey Negotiator, It’s “Crunch Time”

July 17, 2015

So how many times has this happened to you: you are involved in a negotiation and things are moving along just fine with lots of negotiation styles and negotiating techniques being used. Then all of a sudden, you come to a point in the discussion where things just seem to grind to a halt. There […]

Read the full article →

Four Rules For Using Power Correctly In A Negotiation

July 10, 2015

When it comes to negotiating, power can be a funny thing. Yes, generally speaking the side of the table that has the most power is going to end up getting the best deal out of the negotiations. However, it turns out that it’s not enough to have power in a negotiation – you also have […]

Read the full article →

How To Take Control Of A Negotiation

June 26, 2015

I’m sure that you’ve been involved in a negotiation in the past in which after you made it though all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that were being used, the thought of “who’s actually in control of this negotiation” ran through your head at some point in time. I know that this has […]

Read the full article →

What Should A Negotiator Do AFTER The Negotiation Is Over?

June 19, 2015

Yea! The negotiation is over and done with (or at least this meeting that is a part of the negotiations is done with) and the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques have all been put away. Now you can go home, put your feet up, and relax until the next meeting. Hold on – it turns […]

Read the full article →

The Secret To Preparing For A Negotiation: POST

June 12, 2015

In order to be successful in your next negotiation, you are going to have to show up ready to do battle with the other side. The big question that most of us face when we are preparing for a negotiation is just exactly what should we be doing in order to get ready? I mean, […]

Read the full article →

Every Negotiation Needs A Scorecard

June 5, 2015

I can only speak for myself, but when I’m involved in a detailed negotiation, things can get pretty confusing very quickly with all of the different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are being used. There are a lot of different issues that need to be resolved as a part of reaching an agreement with […]

Read the full article →

In Negotiating, It’s Really All About The Details…

May 22, 2015

Let’s face it, negotiating can be a very tricky thing to do well what with all of the different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are used. There are a lot of different reasons why negotiating can be hard to do, but one of the biggest is that there are just so many different things […]

Read the full article →

Why Every Negotiator Should Have A “Deal Book”

May 15, 2015

Let’s face it: negotiating is a complicated process even before you start thinking about all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are involved. There may a number of different people involved, you may be discussing many different issues, and don’t even get me started on all of the dates and places that can […]

Read the full article →