Why Sales Negotiators Need To Watch Out For The Give & Take

Just When You Think You're Ahead, You May Find Yourself Losing!
Just When You Think You’re Ahead, You May Find Yourself Losing!

You may or may not realize it, but the other side of the table in a sales negotiation might be as smart or even smarter than you are. I say this not to make you worried, but rather to make sure that you remain aware throughout the entire negotiation. A good example of this is the old “give and take” technique – just when you think that you are ahead, you may find yourself way behind all of a sudden …

The Give And Take Technique

The give and take technique of negotiating is very simple on the surface. In fact, when it’s being used, the side of the table that is using it will come across as being very agreeable and easy to work with.

It all starts with the negotiator that is using the give and take technique making a series of concessions to the other side. What may have seemed like significant issues that needed to be worked out before the negotiations started, quickly get resolved and often get resolved in favor of one side of the table.

As you may have guessed, this is all part of the tactic. In a sales negotiation things are never as straightforward as they may seem.

Why This Technique Works So Well

As things start to go better than expected for one side of the negotiation, a very natural thing will start to happen – they’ll let their guard down. When the give and take technique is being used, breaks or pauses in the negotiations are very important to the side that is using this technique.

The reason that these breaks are so important is because of what the side that is making the unexpected progress will do during those breaks – they will tell the world about how well things are going. This could be as simple as placing a call to their management.

What has happened contains the key to why this technique works so well. The other side of the table has now become psychologically conditioned to close the deal. Since they’ve told the world that things are going well, they have clearly communicated that a deal is going to be reached. Now they are committed.

This is when the negotiator that is using the give and take technique can strike. You can start to take back everything that you’ve already given. You can do this by demanding concessions from the other side that effectively weaken or even negate the concessions that you’ve already made.

An example of this would be if you had agreed to sell a piece of property to the other side of the table. Let’s say that you’ve made a big concession on the price already. In this second part of the negotiation, after the other side has already committed to making a deal, you start to turn the tables on them. You can demand that they pay for the survey of the property. You can make them pay this year’s taxes on the property. You can have them pay to move you off of this property and onto another piece of property. You can see how you can very quickly make back all of the money that you gave away up front.

What All Of This Means For You

The give and take technique is a clever way to make the other side of the table give you exactly what you want. It starts out simply enough with you giving in to the other side’s requests.

It’s important to take breaks in order to allow the other side to communicate to the outside world that they are making progress in the negotiations. Once that’s been done, the give and take negotiator can strike. Because the other side is now committed to making a deal, you can take back your concessions and get even more out of them.

It takes a great deal of planning in order to use the give and take technique. However, it is very powerful because it works over time – it’s never clear just exactly what you are up to until the negotiations are almost over. They say that it’s better to give than it is to receive, but in sales negotiations it’s actually better to give and take!

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

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to defend yourself against the give & take technique?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we’re talking about negotiating and someone brings up the tactic of escalation what pops into your head right off the bat? Do you see yourself becoming frustrated with the person that you’re negotiating with and getting up and storming off to go have a talk with their boss? That’s one form of escalation, but that’s not what we’re going to talk about here – we’re going to talk about the other type of escalation…