23 April, 2016

Getting What You Really Want by Asking for More

There is a method to any form of negotiation that any woman bargaining for a trinket knows.  A study called “Reciprocal Concessions Procedure for Inducing Compliance: The Door-in-the-Face Technique,” explored the idea of mutual reciprocal concessions, or give and take in negotiations.  Previous studies had shown that the idea of making an initial firm offer and holding to it was not an effective way to negotiate.  The best way is to start higher and allow the other side to negotiate it down to an equitable level.  This is sometimes known as the door in the face approach.

How does it work?  You begin by making a request that you know the other side will not accede to.  And then you come back with what you really wanted in the first place.  The idea behind this is that the person will feel bad for refusing your first request, so when you ask for something lesser, they feel obliged to give in.  People want to appear to be reasonable, and this allows them to do so, but at your benefit.  This works as long as the same person is the one who asked both the greater and the lesser concession.  And that is why, in a negotiating team, there should be only one person making the demands.  This invariably works when there is some sort of relationship where both sides are ready to deal.

This system is used in a gradated scale in the course of the negotiation process, and as the other side denies larger requests, they will increasingly agree to lesser ones, and will eventually offer their own concessions.  This way, both parties leave the negotiating table believing they have achieved something, while at the same time, ensuring that they got what they really wanted.

It is important to end negotiations on an amicable note because this is the beginning of a business relationship.  There is no gain to approaching this as a zero sum relationship since this engenders resentment and latent hostility, and this might complicate future negotiations.

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