One good way to get more at the bargaining table is to flinch – react with surprise – when you are on the receiving end of a proposal.
When people make you a proposal they are watching closely for your reaction. In fact, they may not expect you to go along with their request – but they are throwing something out to see what your reaction will be. Some examples:
- You sell computer systems and the buyer asks you to include a service agreement.
- You sell building supplies and the contractor wants you to deliver to the job site free of charge.
- You’re selling a warehouse and the buyer wants to move in a month ahead of the closing date.
If you don’t flinch, the other side will invariably think this way: “I didn’t expect them to go along with it, but maybe they will. I’ll push more to see how far I can get.”
Most people believe what they see more than what they hear. If you don’t show surprise, you are communicating that the concession is possible – even if you say otherwise.
Source: Roger Dawson in “Secrets of Power Negotiating.”
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