The Oldest Negotiating Trick in the Book
This negotiating trick is a timeless classic. It’s something Aristotle taught Greek lawyers in 300 BC. And it’s something lawyers are still learning today.
What is it?
Simply asking questions to reveal hidden motives behind a counterpart’s rejection of a deal point.
Why This Negotiating Tactic Is Important
To be an effective negotiator, you have to learn to uncover the real reason behind a counterpart’s resistance. You can’t simply cave in when a prospect or client says no–especially if you are dealing with someone who thinks they have the upper hand, like a buyer.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say Jack is refinancing his home. His mortgage broker itemizes all the charges associated with securing a loan. Jack asks if he could waive the fee for the appraisal since he had an appraisal done six months earlier. He wants to use that appraisal.
The mortgage broker says that getting an appraisal is standard company policy. Her boss would never approve of waiving the appraisal or the fee.
Jack is stumped. But he doesn’t give up.
Expert Negotiators Do This When They Meet Resistance
To find out if there is another reason the broker does not want to waive the fee, Jack could ask to speak directly to the broker’s boss.
If the explanation the broker has given is not exactly accurate, the broker will probably make a concession. In this way, he may call her bluff.
Better yet, if she does let Jack talk to her boss, he may succeed in gaining something he would not have gained–talking to the person who makes the decisions.
What to Do If You Can’t Think of Any Questions to Ask
Imagine you were truly stumped. And couldn’t think of anything to say. What do you do?
Your best bet is to be honest and just say “Are you telling the truth?” Say it with humor or a light tone. Play dumb even. That’s a great tactic.
But you’ll even find those times when this tactic won’t work. Someone’s on a power trip and will waster your time and money. Get out of that situation.
Have you ever used this ancient negotiating trick? Did it work? Leave your answer in the comments.
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