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Choose Language When Making Offers, Concessions
"Oh, I don't know. My first offer? Boy, I hate this. I suppose I could offer you somewhere around $125 to $150 per hour to do some marketing consulting for me. Of course, I know you're busy and I'm in a rush myself, so I'd really like you to seriously consider it." Is it possible to make a worse first offer? Probably not.
- Signals uncertainty and lack of preparation by saying "Oh, I don't know."
- Is vague and ambiguous by offering "somewhere around $125 to $150 per hour."
- Communicates too much flexibility by noting it's a "first offer."
- Fails to justify its fairness by pointing to standards such as market value or precedent.
- Weakens leverage by stating the person is in a "rush" and "hates" the process.
- It even uses a range, which often leads to miscommunication. After all, the consultant probably focused on the $150 rate, while the potential client probably focused on the $125 rate.
So how should we make offers? As I've written in past columns, it's important in your offers and concessions to:
- Be specific and detailed.
- Explain the offer's rationale and tie it to standards such as market value or precedent before introducing numbers.
- Sometimes point out the consequences if it's not accepted.
- Often put it in writing.
- Avoid ranges.
- Promote an air of finality and increasing rigidity.
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Copyright © 2005, Marty Latz
Copyright © 2005, The Negotiator Magazine