Why the Best Negotiators are Givers

By Matthew Parker

Would you ever consider negotiating at your local supermarket? Can you imagine putting down your basket of groceries at the checkout and asking for a reduced price?

Doesn’t that seem like a good way to be politely (or not-so politely) asked to leave the store?

Here’s how I successfully negotiated at a supermarket
I was at the fish counter of my local supermarket. I was planning to cook some fish for my dinner. I love cooking, and I have a great recipe for a tuna and rice dish. The tuna always looks great at supermarkets. I love the way the fishmonger will cut you a lovely tuna steak, to just the thickness that you want.

But I didn’t need a tuna steak for this recipe. I just needed some chunks of tuna. It seemed a shame to spend a lot of money on a tuna steak just to cut it up.

The tail of the tuna never makes good steaks – it’s too small for this and is often just thrown away. So I asked the fishmonger if I could pay less for my tuna if I took the tail.

The fishmonger saw that it was a win-win situation. The fishmonger and the supermarket got rid of the tuna tail, and I bought my tuna at a cheaper price.

But the supermarket wouldn’t have given me a price reduction if I hadn’t had something to offer in return.

Good negotiators know that giving achieves great negotiation results
Good negotiators know that giving creates worthwhile relationships. They know that giving is a great way to keep control of a negotiation. And good negotiators know that they will get more if they give.

Negotiators who don’t give can often alienate the other party. Negotiators who don’t give won’t be able to control their negotiations in the same way. Negotiators who don’t give won’t achieve as much from their negotiations.

Negotiations need give and take
If one party wants a big concession from the other side, they are going to need to give something in return. If you give more, you will get more.

As a buyer, if I get the right things in return, I might even pay more.

Why would a buyer pay more?
It may seem odd at first, but let’s consider how this might work. Let’s say that I’m buying a marketing brochure. The brochure is a vital sales tool for an important exhibition. The trouble is that the exhibition opens in a couple of days, and no one told me that a brochure was needed for the exhibition until this morning.

Of course, I could just try and find the cheapest price for the brochure. But let’s say that I found a printer for the brochure who offered me something a little different. Let’s say that this printer was willing to:

– Deliver an early sample copy for the marketing team tomorrow morning
– Make a 7:00 a.m. delivery to the exhibition to make sure that my company had everything they needed before the doors opened
– Guarantee no charge if delivery wasn’t made on time

Wouldn’t that peace of mind be worth paying a little extra for? Wouldn’t it be worth giving a little more in order to win these benefits?

Don’t assume that giving is a sign of weakness
If you give, you should expect something back. A good negotiator gives in order to get what they want.

I didn’t give the supermarket an opportunity to get rid of its tuna tails for no reason. I gave the supermarket that opportunity so that I would get a better price.

Giving is an important concept in this book
Giving is a very powerful way to negotiate successfully. Giving is a great way for sellers to achieve greater profits. And giving is a great way for buyers to create better value for their company.

But giving is also a way for you to achieve more from your own personal negotiations
From this book, you will learn a great system for improving your print negotiations, whether you are a buyer or a seller. But you can use this system for yourself as well. You will be able to put this system into practice the next time you need to buy a car, or a camera or some clothes … or even on your next trip to the supermarket.

But whatever you are buying, be prepared to give as well. If you give, you will also achieve a win-win situation with the other party.
This article is an excerpt from Matthew Parker’s forthcoming book, “The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook,” which will launch in January 2012. To receive another excerpt entitled “How to avoid using straight line negotiation and giving way on price,” please click here. You’ll also receive updates on the launch and news of a special launch offer.


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