My opponent has the advantage
Of course your opponent* has some advantages. By the same token, you
presumably have something he hungers for. It's just a question of finding it.
  1. In your planning phase, brainstorm a list of variables - as diverse as
    possible. (Price, after-sales support, maintenance responsibility…all the way to…who buys lunch?).
  2. Use some sort of prioritising or scoring system to figure out relative
    strengths and weaknesses, and then think of this set of variables as
    a hand of cards: how are you going to play them once the
    negotiation begins?
  3. At an early stage of the negotiation, make direct reference to the
    strong cards you know your opponent holds: "Of course, we know
    that we compare badly with our competitors on the single issue of
    price…" This disarms him.
  4. Introduce some juicy new variable: "… but the decision you must
    make is more complex than that…let's just look at some of the
    other variables:…"
  5. Invite him to introduce new variables of his own: “Any factors we
    haven’t considered yet…?”
*Please note: we are using the word "opponent" to mean not "enemy", but the
person who faces you at the start of the negotiation. If things goes well, you will
soon be sitting on the same side, looking towards a common objective.
Click around the other advice sections for more tabloid tips, or go
to Books or contact us for a fuller treatment.
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