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Ask For More Than You Expect To Get
One of the cardinal rules of Power Negotiating is that you should ask the other side for more than you expect to get. Henry Kissinger went so far as to say, "Effectiveness at the conference table depends upon overstating one's demands."
Think of some reasons why you should do this:
- Why should you ask the store for a bigger discount than you think you have a chance of getting?
- Why should you ask your boss for an executive suite although you think you'll be lucky to get a private office?
- If you're applying for a job, why should you ask for more money and benefits than you think they'll give you?
- If you're dissatisfied with a meal in a restaurant, why should you ask the captain to cancel the entire bill, even though you think they will take off only the charge for the offending item?
If you're a salesperson:
- Why, if you are convinced that the buyer wants to spread the business around, should you still ask for it all?
- Why should you ask for full list price even if you know it's higher than the buyer is paying now?
- Why should you ask the other person to invest in the top of the line even when you're convinced they're so budget conscious that they'll never spend that much?
- Why should you assume that they'd want to buy your extended service warranty even though you know they've never done that in the past?
If you thought about this, you probably came up with a few good reasons to ask for more than you expect to get. The obvious answer is that it gives you some negotiating room. If you're selling, you can always come down, but you can never go up on price. If you're buying, you can always go up, but you can never come down. What you should be asking for is your MPP-your maximum plausible position. This is the most that you can ask for and still have the other side see some plausibility in your position.
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Copyright © 2003 Roger Dawson
© 2003, The Negotiator Magazine