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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Key Considerations in Making Concessions

Remember: Every behavior communicates. This is especially true with concessions. Because concessions are essential to negotiating, there are some key considerations in planning for and in making concessions:

  • What will the other party infer from my concession? Will they perceive me as giving in or rolling over? Will they infer that I asked for too much in my opening position and, therefore, I might be willing to make an early concession just to keep them at the table?

  • When should I make a concession? If I am the first to make a move, will they assume I’m more flexible? Don’t make a concession until both opening positions are out. The other party may try to get you to make an early concession by responding harshly to your opening with a statement like, “You’ve got to be kidding! That’s just not acceptable.” Instead of conceding anything, ask “What is your position?”

  • How much (or what size) of a concession should I make? Depending on your planning, you might start with a small concession and see if the other party makes a move. Imagine the signal sent when you make an initial large concession. The other party might believe your opening was far too high, and continue to move for more concessions. If you make smaller and smaller concessions (or stop making them), the other party could perceive that you are at the limit of your concessions and thus might be forced to offer some movement.

  • What is the cost/value ratio of the concession? What will ...

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