Negotiators Know The Power Of The Word “Free”

Everyone wants something if it's free
Everyone wants something if it’s free
Image Credit

As negotiators we all know that it is possible for a negotiation to grind to a halt. We can get very, very close to reaching a deal with the other side of the table, but for some unknown reason despite all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we’ve been using, we just are not able to get there. It turns out that there is a classic negotiating technique that just might be what we need to get over that line. To use it, all you have to be willing to do is to give something away for free…

The Power Of Free

Let’s face it – closing a deal is hard to do. We can get very, very close to the end of a deal and then for some unknown reason the other side of the table just is not willing to cross the finish line with us. For some reason, the deal just does not “feel” right to them. What’s a negotiator to do?

This is exactly the time that you should start to think about giving something away to the other side for free. This can be the little something extra that allows you to clinch the deal. We’ve all see how adding something free to a deal helps those late-night TV commercials sell things that none of us actually need (“buy two and we’ll throw another one in for free!”)

What’s going on here is that the other side more often than not just can’t pass up a deal. The size of what you offer them really does not matter. The key is that it’s “free”. The fact that they were able to get something for free is what the other side will remember long after the negotiations are done.

How To Use Free

So just exactly how does one go about using this powerful concept of giving something away for free? Good question. What you are going to want to do is not to lead your negotiations with the offer of something for free. Rather, you are going to want to use it as a sweetener to motivate the other side to want to close the deal.

How you go about doing this can take on a number of different forms. You can change when the other side gives you money in the form of “no payments for two years”. You can offer them a better guarantee in the form of “we’ll extend our 90-day warrantee and make it a one-year warrantee”. Or you can just offer them something that they would have to buy anyway after purchasing your product like “a free tank of gas”.

One thing that you’ll want to be aware of is that there will be cases where you could lower the price of what is being negotiated for or you could offer the other side something of an equivalent value for free. In almost every case you are going to want to offer them something for free because this will be more attractive to them and they’ll remember it longer.

What All Of This Means For You

The way that we measure our success when we are negotiating is by the number of deals that we are able to close. There are many cases where we may get close to closing a deal and not quite be able to wrap it up. It’s times like this that the power of giving something away for free can help to make the deal happen.

There truly is something almost magical about the word “free”. When the other side of the table hears it, they immediately want whatever we are promising them. Offering something to the other side for free when a deal is close can be what it takes to make the deal happen.

The next time that you go into a principled negotiation, make sure that you have a free offer somewhere in your bag of tricks. If you get close to reaching an agreement on a deal, but can’t quite get there, then you can bring your free offer out. You just might be amazed at how powerful a free offer can be!

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

Question For You: Do you think that there would ever be a situation in which you should make multiple free offers?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In a negotiation we want the other side of the table to make concessions to us so that we can get what we need out of the negotiations. However, in all honesty, no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques we use, they probably are really not all that motivated to give us the concessions that we want. What this means for us is that we’re going to have to find a way to get them to want to give us what we both want and need. Hmm, how can we make this happen?