Chapter 9Middle Negotiating Gambits: Never Offer to Split the Difference

In this country, we have a tremendous sense of fair play. This dictates to us that if both sides give equally, then it’s fair. If Fred puts his home up for sale at $200,000, Susan makes an offer at $190,000, and both Fred and Susan are eager to compromise, both tend to be thinking, “If we settled at $195,000 that would be fair, because it’s equal.” Fairness depends on the opening negotiating positions Fred and Susan took. If the house is worth $190,000 and Fred was holding to his over-inflated price only to take advantage of Susan having fallen in love with his house, then it’s not fair. If the house is worth $200,000 and Susan is willing to pay that but is taking advantage ...

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