During the act of negotiating process concessions are just part of the process and all too often negotiators go into a negotiation without a plan. In fact I believe that most people never have a plan of the concessions that they are willing to make and feel that they can wing it when they get into the battle. This really is the result of a lack of preparation in the place and you have read any of the prior articles you can see that I really feel that preparation is the key to success in any negotiation. But when it comes to the art of making concessions people rarely spend any time on what they are willing to give up in the process so when it comes time to use the process of “give and take” they usually have no idea of what to “give” and then feel that they made a huge mistake when all is said and done.
Lets cover concessions 101 here so that you can start to think about what you can “give” in the “give and take” process. First start with the attitude that each and every concession that you give up for has to be earned by your adversary, by doing this each and every time you will actually make the other party feel much better and come away from the encounter saying that you were tough but fair. If you concede to fast or to easy then you will make the other party feel that they should have asked for more. I once had several painters submit a bid to piant my house. When I decided which painter I wanted to use I called him up and told him to come over for a meeting to go over his proposal. He had already made the statement that he had “some room” in his bid I knew that he would be willing to negotiate. During the meeting I asked a number of questions that only had to do with the materials to be used, his experience, his crews experience, and who he had a s customers. When then got on to the task of solidifying the price I proposed a price that was a significant discount, thinking as all of us do, that he would surely counter my offer. To my great surprise he said YES and we shook hands and agreed on a start day. One would think that I would be very happy with my superior negotiating skills. However I felt like I just got the shaft and that I should have asked for more. In fact when I went into the house and told my wife that he accepted my first offer her comment was that “you should have offered less”. The painter would have made me feel much happier if he would have pushed back and demanded even a small amount more.
Here are some things to think of when making concession:
Don’t open to high.
Have a good reason for every concession.
Do not make massive concessions because of the pressure of the deadline.
Be very careful to avoid rates or patterns.
Save key concessions until the end of the process.
Always know how many concessions that you have made.
Always know how many concessions your adversary has made.
Emphasize your concessions, minimize the other parties