Say Hello To The Bogey-Man – A Negotiator’s Best Friend

When Negotiating, The Bogey Is Your Best Friend
When Negotiating, The Bogey Is Your Best Friend

As a negotiator, the key to your long-term success is to have a number of different techniques that you can use when a situation calls for it. One way to think about this is like a carpenter who has a tool belt with his most commonly used tools on it. As the carpenter is working on a job, just about any situation can be solved with one of the tools that he has close at hand. Today we’re going to talk about the negotiation equivalent of a carpenter’s hammer: a practical, simple, and ethical tool that everyone should know how to use. What’s this negotiating tool called you say? The Bogey.

The easiest way to define what the Bogey is, is to show you it in action. Let’s say that you want to have your house painted. You have a contractor come out to the house, he looks it over, and then he gives you a quote for $20,000 to do the job. You then tell the contractor “Hey, I love your proposal and I think that you do great work; however, all I have to spend is $17,000 that I got from an insurance claim. Here is a certified check for that amount.” The painter accepts your offer and gets to work.

So what happens when you use the Bogey technique? There are three fundamental principals of negotiating that are at work here and it’s important that you realize what they are:

  1. By complimenting the painter, you have boosted his ego. He realizes that you now expect something from him in return. In a subtle way, you have actually asked for his help and in most cases you will usually get it.
  2. In all negotiations, the seller knows more about his product than the buyer ever will. The Bogey is one way that the buyer can give the seller a chance to show what they know about the product.
  3. One of the fundamental rules of negotiating is that there is always a better deal available for all parties that are participating in the negotiation if only they are willing to search for it. The Bogey technique is how the search for this better deal starts.

When you present a Bogey to a seller, the seller generally won’t roll over and accept it. Instead he will come back with a more complete description of what he is selling to you: the quality of his product, his workmanship, the quantity of different items included in his quote, etc. Out of all of this you will now have a much better understanding of what you are buying. Now the real negotiation begins. The seller may lower his price, drop some options, change the delivery schedule, etc. No matter where it goes from here, you will end up ahead of the game.

Have you ever used the Bogey technique when you were negotiating? How did it work out for you? Has someone ever used this technique on you? How did you react as a seller – did you start to describe all the values of your product / service? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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