During A Negotiation It’s All About The Bargain

What everyone is looking for in a negotiation is a bargain
What everyone is looking for in a negotiation is a bargain
Image Credit: Anthony Easton

What do you think the other side of the table is looking to get out of their negotiation with you? A lower price? More quantity? Better delivery dates? These may all be true, but deep down inside what the other side wants to walk away from the table after all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques have been put away is with a feeling of satisfaction – a job well done. In order to make this happen, they are going to have to be left with the feeling that they were able to get a bargain. Do you know how to make this happen?

Just Exactly What Is A Bargain?

If we want to be able to recognize a bargain when the other side presents it to us or when we want to determine how we can present them with a bargain, then we’re going to have to make sure that we understand exactly what a bargain is. All too often both sides of the table can start to believe that a bargain simply has to do with the price of what is being negotiated.

You know the routine. If one side the table ends up paying full price, then they will feel as though they did not get a bargain. If they found a way to pay less than the full price, then they will feel as though they got a bit of a bargain. If they end up paying a lot less than the full price, then they will feel as though they got a real good bargain. If the other side leaves the negotiation feeling as though he got bargain, then he will feel satisfied and will be willing to negotiate with you again in the future.

This view of price as being the key to getting a bargain is a limited view that we need to overcome. There are a number of different things that can play into having someone believe that they are getting a bargain. These things can include conditions, circumstances, and facts. Taken together, all of these can contribute to the feeling that we got a bargain. Note that some may have to do with price while at the same time, some do not.

Conditions That Suggest A Bargain

There are several conditions, which if met, can led one side of a negotiation to feeling that they were able to get a bargain out of the negotiations. A great example of this is if it turns out that there is very little risk that I’m going to end up feeling dissatisfied with the purchase or having problems with it. It’s entirely possible that the item that is being negotiated is quite expensive and I may end up paying either full price or close to the full price for it. However, if once I have it I know that it’s just going to work and that if I ever had a problem with it you’d jump on it to get it fixed, then I will believe that I got a bargain. A good example of this might be buying a Mercedes.

Another way that I may feel that I got a bargain is if by getting the product or service, it is treated by others as though I have good taste. By now we are all familiar with how this goes. We agree to purchase something that costs a lot. After we’ve completed the purchase, we may have some misgivings about how much we spent to get the good or service. However, then our friends and colleagues start to complement us on the item that we’ve purchased and all of sudden we no longer feel that we paid too much. I have felt this way before when I have purchased a suit.

There are times that we are negotiating to acquire something that we really don’t have a good feel for what the true value should be. We’ll go through the negotiations and get the best value that we are able to get, but we’ll still walk away from the table not knowing if we did a good job. If afterwards when we tell people what we spent to get the item or service people tell us that we got a good deal, then we will feel as though we got a bargain. This can occur when you are purchasing a home in a new city.

What All Of This Means For You

The reason that we are at the negotiating table is because we want to be able to reach a deal with the other side. In order for us to feel that we did a good job and reached a good deal with them, we need to feel as though we were able to get a bargain. How we can make the other side feel this way is one of the challenges that we face as negotiators.

We need to understand what a bargain is. It’s more than just getting a low price on a good or a service. Instead, it can include a number of different items such as conditions, circumstances, and facts. What we need to realize is that there are a number of different conditions that can cause both ourselves and the other side of the table to feel as though we got a bargain. The first of these occurs when someone pays top dollar for a product or a service. We may regret doing this, but if we know that it’s going to work reliably for us and if we believe that if it ever has problems they will be fixed quickly, then then we’ll feel like we got a bargain. If pay a lot for something and then people complement us on our purchase, we’ll feel as though we have good taste. Finally, if we don’t know how much something should cost and then after having acquired it people tell us that we got a bargain, we’ll start to agree with them.

Bargains are what we are all looking for. During a principled negotiation we need to keep in mind that the other side is seeking to get a bargain also. We need to take steps to make sure that the deal that we’ll be able to reach with them will be seen by them as a bargain. If we can make this happen, then they will actually be looking forward to negotiating with us again in the future.

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

Question For You: What do you think would be the best way to convince the other side that they were getting a bargain by dealing with you?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you think about it, money is sorta a strange thing. I mean, by itself it really does not have any value – it’s just ink printed on paper, a plastic credit card, or a blank check. However, because we’ve all agreed that indeed money does have a value and that we are willing to exchange things for it, all of a sudden money becomes a lot more important. That’s why it’s strange that in a negotiation when we’re talking about real things, like cash, we do a good job. However, when the discussion switches over to funny money we see to take our eyes off of what we are doing.