Tactics 101: Giving Away Nothing & Becoming A Litterbug

by drjim on May 28, 2010

Is It Really A Gift If There’s Nothing In The Box?

Is It Really A Gift If There’s Nothing In The Box?

In the world of negotiating, the actual process of negotiating is very much an art. In order to be good at it, a master sales negotiator needs to have a complete collection of negotiating tactics at his or her disposal. Not every negotiation will call for every tactic to be used, but as any auto mechanic can tell you, having the right tool for the job can make your life a lot easier.

Empty Concessions Make The Perfect Gift

As a negotiator you will be expected to make concessions to the other side of the table during the negotiation in order to keep making progress towards an eventual deal. However, sometimes you may find yourself in a bind – they want a lower price and you can’t go any lower than you already are.

It is in cases like this that empty concessions can come in quite handy. Ultimately, the value of any given concession is determined by how the side that is getting it views it. This means that by identifying a negotiation point that means very little to you, but which means a great deal to the to the other side of the table, you will have found the perfect empty concession.

When you find yourself backed into a negotiating corner, an empty concession is exactly the kind of tool that you can use to increase the other side’s level of satisfaction without having to give in on a point that is important to you.

Littering Really Isn’t All That Bad

In some negotiations, it can seem as though the other side of the table holds all of the cards – you are at their mercy. However, this is never the case. The concept of “littering on their lawn” simply means that you have the ability to make statements that will cause them to pause and realize that what you are offering them has more value than they had originally thought.

The following four examples show how negotiating litter can be made to work for you:

  • Value: pointing out to the other side that yes, they could strike a deal with another company for a lower price; however, they would end up getting less value from the deal for the following reasons…
  • The Price Is Right: sitting down with the other side and reviewing both your costs and your prices can quickly show them that you really are making a reasonable amount of money on this deal – not too much, not too little.
  • We’re Different: point out why comparing your offer to another firm’s offer is not really an apples-to-apples comparison. Show that your firm actually provides many additional services.
  • Total Cost: just focusing on the price of the item being bought or sold can be misleading. Taking the time to discuss all of the costs of the deal, both before and after the sale, can show that your total costs are lower than the competition.

What All Of This Means For You

Nobody is ever born a top-notch sales negotiator. Instead, we all improve a little bit during every negotiation that we are involved in. A key part of this improvement is making sure that we know all of the tactics that we’ll need.

Concessions that mean very little to you, but which mean a great deal to the other side of the table are a fantastic tool to use when you find yourself backed into a corner. Casting doubt in the minds of the other side by littering on their carefully planned reasoning can cause the other side to become willing to reach a deal much quicker.

They say that knowledge is power and the more negotiating tactics you know, then the more negotiating power you will have…

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Help For Technical Staff

Question For You: If the other side doesn’t ask, should you make empty concessions anyway since they don’t mean anything to you?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you’ve ever taken the time to look at how a Ferris wheel is built, then you already know about one of the key negotiating techniques that top sales negotiators use when they need to defend a price…

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