Avoiding the Counter Offer

negotiating_real_estateOne thing is quite common in negotiating. It's the counter offer. Just when one party makes a proposal or states a position the other party comes back with their counter proposal or position. Now there is certainly nothing wrong with that exchange, after all it is negotiating. But there is a technique that can cut off or even avoid the counter.

It is worth investigating. It can work in many many situations.

Consider reframing your proposals in such a way that your negotiating opponent is more prone to accept them and not even offer up a counter proposal.

It involves the tactic of verbalizing a 'discount' along with your proposal. You've experienced these before, but might not have realized their effectiveness.

Example, the appliance salesman says, "This unit is normally $1,195, but if you buy it today I can give it to you for $975."

Nine out of ten times the customer will accept the 'discount' and NOT attempt to get a lower price (no counter offer). Why does this work?

Well, the salesmen in this situation has already communicated a "Trade-Off" (if you buy today, you will save $220)and he has anticipated your desire for a discount and given it to you up front. He stated its value ($1,195) but is willing to take less (just for you).

It is almost unthinkable to ask for an additional discount or other value add in (extended free warranty,free delivery, etc.)

In reality the salesman probably only wanted $975, but his stated higher price with immediate discount to the $975 figure cut off negotiations in a kind and comfortable way.

Some will even quote the higher price ($1,195) and observe the customers reaction. If there is no "Flinch" the salesman sticks to that price. If the "Flinch" is in evidence, the salesman can quickly become the good guy and offer the discount. Letting the 'bad news' higher price) marinate for a moment is an effective, and often profitable strategy.

The applications are everywhere.

Why even here in western Pennsylvania, which is Pittsburgh Steeler Country, we saw it in action. The Steeler quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger embarrassed himself, the team and all local fans by his recent actions involving a young lady in Georgia.

Did you notice that Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, imposed a suspension on Ben? Did you notice how the suspension was framed?

It stated that Ben was suspended for six games, but if he met certain conditions (counseling, good behavior, etc.) the suspension might be reduced to four games.

Did you also notice there was no complaint or appeal from Ben regarding the six game suspension. An appeal would have been similar to a counter offer. Instead, Ben simply complied and is hoping for the two game penalty reduction (which will likely come).

Truth be told, Mr. Goodell probably only wanted a four game suspension all along.

In family negotiations, where we ask someone to do something, couldn't we frame requests that avoid counter offers?

Example, "I need you to do A, B and also C. But if you do A and B by lunchtime, you won't have to do C." Odds are you will get A and B done in a timely manner without much complaint.

Stating the price or commission on anything you offer or sell can include a base price but include an immediate discount if some modest condition is met.

Start observing the times that bargaining involves this "avoiding the counter offer" technique. Look for more opportunities toinclude this in your cadre of influence strategies.

Good negotiators don't miss opportunities to frame proposals so that counter offers are eliminated or at least minimized.

Keep Negotiating.

Written by: John Hamilton
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