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Let's recap the five reasons for asking for more than you expect to get:
1. You might just get it.
2. It gives you some negotiating room.
3. It raises the perceived value of what you're offering.
4. It prevents the negotiation from deadlocking.
5. It creates a climate in which the other side feels that he or she won.
In highly publicized negotiations, such as when the football players or airline pilots go on strike, the initial demands that both sides make are absolutely outlandish. I remember being involved in a union negotiation where the initial demands were unbelievably outrageous. The union's demand was to triple the employees' wages. The company's opening was to make it an open shop-in other words, a voluntary union that would effectively destroy the union's power at that location. Power Negotiators know that the initial demands in these types of negotiations are always extreme, however, so they don't let it bother them.
Power Negotiators know that as the negotiations progress, they will work their way toward the middle where they will find a solution that both sides can accept. Then they can both call a press conference and announce that they won in the negotiations.
An attorney friend of mine, John Broadfoot from Amarillo, Texas, tested this theory for me. He was representing a buyer of a piece of real estate, and even though he had a good deal worked out, he thought, "I'll see how Roger's rule of 'Asking for More Than You Expect to Get,' works." So, he dreamt up 23 paragraphs of requests to make of the seller. Some of them were absolutely ridiculous. He felt sure that at least half of them would be thrown out right away. To his amazement, he found that the seller of the property took strong objection to only one of the sentences in one of the paragraphs.
Even then John, as I had taught him, didn't give in right away. He held out for a couple of days before he finally and reluctantly conceded. Although he had given away only one sentence in 23 paragraphs of requests, the seller still felt that he had won in the negotiation. So always leave some room to let the other person have a win. Power Negotiators always ask for more than they expect to get.
Roger Dawson, CSP, CPAE is one of North America’s top negotiating experts and a leading sales and management speaker. He is the author of "Secrets of Power Negotiating" which is one of the biggest selling audiocassette programs ever published. His latest book "Secrets of Power Persuasion for Salespeople" is now in bookstores and a must read for Realtors®. For information about Roger’s Keynote presentations and training sessions, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Copyright © 2002 Roger Dawson
Copyright © 2003, The Negotiator Magazine