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InPublishing Tip 8 – Why the best negotiators are givers

Negotiation isn’t just about nailing down the best possible price. Ideally, it is about achieving a win-win situation between buyer and seller and the best way of getting this, writes Matthew Parker, is to give a bit.

Matthew Parker

Posted on: 15 June 2012

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 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 planning to cook some fish for my dinner. I love cooking, and I have a great recipe for a tuna and rice dish. Which is why I found myself at the fish counter of my local supermarket.

The tuna always looks great at supermarkets. There’s a great big side of tuna fish just waiting to be cut into steaks exactly how 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. The tail is too small for this and it is often just thrown away. So I asked the supermarket if I could pay less for my tuna if I took the tail.

The supermarket saw that it was a win-win situation. I gave them an opportunity to get rid of the tuna tail. And, in return, 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 they know that they will get more if they give.

Negotiators who don’t give can often alienate the other party. They can’t control their negotiations in the same way. Negotiators who don’t give can’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 on earth would a buyer pay more?

It may seem odd at first, but let’s consider how this might work. Let’s say that I am buying an advertisement in a publication. Of course, I could just try and find the cheapest price in a relevant publication. Or I could just try and hammer the sales person down on price.

But let’s say that I found a publication that offered me something a little different. Let’s say that this publication was willing to:

* Let me have the position of my choice in the publication

* Provide me with a listings space

* Share the click through analytics from the online version of the publication

* Allow me to sponsors one of their weekly news e-mails

Wouldn’t it be worth giving a higher price 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 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.

About Matthew Parker
(Details last updated: 18 May 2011)

Matthew Parker is a consultant and trainer specialising in negotiation, purchasing and print issues. Matthew has been buying print for over twenty years. Amongst other roles, he headed up print purchasing at Future Publishing.

Tel: 0845 652 1572

Email: Send a message to this author


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