To Get The Deal That You Want, You’re Going To Have To Make Concessions

Concessions are what make deals happen
Concessions are what make deals happen
Image Credit: Konstantinos Koukopoulos

As we prepare to start our next negotiation, more often than not we are focused on what we think that all of our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques are going to be help us to get the deal that we want from the other side of the table. This is a valid thought; however, it’s not what is going to get us to the deal that we’re looking for. Instead, it’s what we’re going to be willing to give up to the other side that will make the deal happen.

The Power Of Concessions

So just exactly what is a concession? Is it a sign of weakness? Is it a failure on your part? Not at all. Instead, a concession is a fundamental part of any negotiation. When we start a negotiation, both sides are miles apart in what they’d like to get out of the negotiations. A deal is not going to happen if we can’t find some way to both reach some sort of middle ground. Concessions, giving in to the other side on some point, is how we both inch our way forward in order to reach that middle ground.

One of the most important aspects of negotiating that a lot of negotiators who are just starting out don’t yet realize is that how you make a concession is just as, if not more, important than what you are conceding. Concessions are so powerful that if you can learn how to do them correctly, they can bring you closer to a deal each time that you make them. If not, then you are going to find yourself moving further away.

How you make your concessions is just as, if not more, important as what concessions you make. What you don’t want to do is to give in all at once. Instead, what you are going to want to do is to concede in small increments. You don’t want to just keep making the same concessions over and over again. Instead, as you make each concession, you’re going to want to make them in diminishing amounts. This will send a clear signal to the other side that these concessions won’t go on forever.

How To Use Concessions During A Negotiation

How you make your concessions makes all of the difference in the world. Although you may be a bright and smart negotiator person, the last thing that you want to be doing is talking too fast. Instead, you’re going to want to make use of the considered response. This is when you choose to go slowly. Yes, you may already know your response to their proposal, but you take your time. You ask questions about their proposal. You appear as though this is not going to be something that you’re going to be able to agree to. You need to make the other side earn the concession even if you only do it a little bit.

As you’ve hopefully started to see, all of this concession stuff is a big part of the back-and-forth that goes on in a negotiation. Since you know in advance that this issue is going to require both sides to go back and forth, you need to make sure that you leave yourself some negotiating room. When you are negotiating you are going to want to aim high so that you leave yourself room to negotiate. Charge more than you are willing to live with and ask for more than you need.

Concessions are a part of every negotiation. However, you need to understand how they ebb and flow. The one thing that you don’t have to do is give concessions tit for tat. Just because the other side has made a concession to you does not mean that you now have to make a concession to them. Likewise, if the other side has made a concession of a certain size, you do not have to match them with the size of the next concession that you’ll end up making.

What All Of This Means For You

The reason that we sit down to negotiate in the first place is because we want to be able to reach a deal with the other side of the table. Each principled negotiation is different; however, they all have one thing in common: we are going to have to make concessions in order to be able to reach the deal that we want to get to.

The trick to concessions is that how you go about making them is just as important as the concession that you make. If done correctly, they’ll move you closer to the deal that you want. Don’t give in all at once. Instead, concede in small increments. Take your time in making a concession and make it a considered response. Make sure that you leave yourself enough room to make concessions when you make proposals and as the other side starts to make concessions to you, don’t feel that you have to match them tit for tat.

Concessions are how we get to where we want to be in a negotiation. They are a powerful tool for us to use. We need to take the time and study how we want to make concessions in our next negotiation in order to make sure that they will move us in the direction that we want to go. Remember the next time that you are negotiating to give in, but only give in to get to where you want to be.

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

Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to make too many concessions during a negotiation?

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

Every negotiation is a battle of wits between two sides. The other side needs you to do what they want you to do and so they’ll be trying to use a number of different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to make this happen. One technique that they may try to use on you is to present you with a deadline. When this happens, you need to respond with patience.