When we enter a negotiation, all too often we are thinking about what we want to get no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are used. Perhaps what we really should be thinking about is what we are going to be willing to give. What we need to remember is that a negotiation always starts with both sides in their original positions. However, it’s never going to end with both us still in those positions. What needs to happen?
How To Use Concessions In A Negotiation
Concessions are a tool that you’ll use to move the other side closer to the deal that you want to reach with them. You have a limited number of concessions that you are going to be willing to make and so you are going to have to mange them very carefully. You don’t want to give a concession to the other side if you are not going to receive one from them in return. Hopefully it goes without saying that you don’t want to give any of your precious and limited concessions away for free. Something that you may not realize is that you never want to give away a concession without having some serious discussion about it first. The reason for this is because if the other side feels as though they didn’t have to work to get you to make a concession to them, then getting that satisfaction won’t add to their satisfaction nearly as much as one that they had to really work to get.
If you are not careful with how you go about making your concessions, then you may end up doing damage to the negotiations that you are involved in. Poorly made concessions can end up driving the parties involved in the discussion apart rather than bringing them together. What we need to realize is that how we go about making a concession can at times be even more important than the actual value of the concession itself. If you are not careful, when you make a concession to the other side you may be getting their hopes up because they now believe that you are a weak negotiator.
When it comes to concessions, just exactly how many you’ve made to the other side is an important number. You need to keep track of how many concessions have been made by you. If you know how many you’ve made, then you’ll be able to bring this up later on in the negotiations and can use it to boost your leverage. Don’t try to keep this number in your head, instead, take the time to write it down.
To Get The Deal That You Want, You Need To Be Flexible
One of the things that you most definitely do not want to do is to go into a negotiation with the intention of not changing your position on the issues. You have to be willing to be flexible. What this means, of course, is that you are going to end up making concessions to the other side of the table. Do not view a concession as being a “loss” by you or your team. Instead, view it as being a natural step as you make your way towards the deal that you are looking for.
Every time that you make a concession to the other side, there needs to be a reason that you are making that concession. What you should be doing by making that concession is moving yourself closer to your negotiating goal. There are a limited number of concessions that you are going to be willing to make and so you are going to have to keep careful track of them. When they are all used up, you’ll have nothing else to offer to the other side and the risk of entering into a deadlock significantly increases.
One thing that you don’t want to have happen is for you to start to feel like your negotiating position is being constrained by the concessions that you have already made. You always need to be thinking about the entire agreement that you are trying to reach with the other side. This means that you should inform the other side that any concessions that you make are to be considered tentative and depend on both parties reaching a final deal. You reserve the right to change your mind at any time!
What All Of This Means For You
As negotiators we need to always remember that concessions are a part of any principled negotiation that we participate in. This means that the position that we have when we enter the negotiations will not be the same position that we’ll have when we leave. However, we need to make sure that we manage our concessions.
Concessions are a precious resource. Make sure that you never give a concession without getting one in return. Make the other side work to get a concession out of you so that they’ll appreciate what you’ve given to them. Don’t forget how many concessions you’ve made because this can become a key bargaining point. You have to retain your flexibility and realize that you only have so many concessions that you can make – once they are gone, a deadlock may be looming. Finally, no concession is set in concrete. You should always reserve the right to change you mind at any point in the negotiations.
Concessions are a powerful negotiating tool that every negotiator needs to master. You need to realize that not only will you be called on to make concessions, but so too will be the other side of the table. If you carefully manage what concessions you make and when you make them, then making concessions can move you towards reaching a mutually agreeable deal with the other side.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You:
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
Any negotiation can be a fast paced affair. The other side uses different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to start to throw ideas and proposals at us one after another and we very quickly feel ourselves becoming overwhelmed. In order to prevent you from making a negotiating mistake, we need to come up with a way that you’ll be able to buy yourself some time when you really need it.