Dealmaking Strategies: Haggling – When to Make the First Offer

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Adapted from “Master the Art and Science of Haggling,” in the August 2009 issue of Negotiation.

After you discuss the pros and cons of your desired item, the salesperson might offer to give you a discount without any prompting. If not, open the negotiation yourself: “I can buy this TV online this weekend at a much lower price. Can we work together toward a more competitive deal?”

If the salesperson is willing to negotiate, and if you have a strong sense of the ZOPA, you are positioned to make an offer: “Can you beat Amazon.com’s price? It’s $900. I can pay in cash, by the way.”

Imagine that the salesperson tells you his store has a new policy against matching, let alone beating, Internet deals. Furthermore, here minds you that your great online deal is about to expire.

Even so, by dropping this “anchor,” you have likely swayed him away from the previous anchor—the TV’s $1,100 list price—and toward your end of the ZOPA.

What’s more, because you proved you’ve done your homework, he is likely to view your offer as credible, if not entirely reasonable.


Discover how to boost your power at the bargaining table in this FREE special report, Dealmaking: Secrets of Successful Dealmaking in Business Negotiations,
from Harvard Law School.


Related Article: Dealmaking: Six Strategies for Creating Value or Claiming Value Through Haggling

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