Use a Matrix of variables to take control of the negotiating agenda
You’re almost ready to present your offer and analyze his. Lets look at how we can influence his choices by the way we package our opening offer.Now that all of your variables have been prioritized and scoped out by optimistic Like to Achieve, realistic Intermediate, and rock bottom Need It or No Way, you can start to bundle them together in ways that help your interests.
If you give someone a choice between Yes or No, he’ll often chose NO. But if you give them a choice between Package A and Package B, Yellow and Blue, Monday or Thursday — they’ll usually take B, Blue, and Thursday.
This is also a great tool for aligning teams and making sure your objectives are staying true to your goals — and that no dangerous assumptions are sneaking into the process. Do your limits still make sense? Any missing variables? Are some highly-valued positions not looking as important any more?
“I have great news. You can choose Plan A or Plan B. Both are equal to me.”
Sales pitch version:
If you can pay for a big order now and wait for it, I can give you a price break. If you want flexibility, we can’t do a discount.
What if they want the best of both?
If they are in a strong position and demand the best of both offers — the low price from one offer and better service levels and terms from the other offer — you are still in pretty good shape. You are still well above your N position — and what’s more you have “anchored” the negotiation in two important ways.
First, you have set the agenda by determining which variables you’ll be negotiations — and if you have done your job on the intermediate benchmark than you are all using the standards of value that you prepared for.
Second, you have established the price range. By offering two prices — one that is extremely favorable to you, and the other a bit of a compromise if he is willing to make some kind of concession.
The packages-of-equal-value opening is great for competitive, hard-driving negotiators who want to take control — but also good for less aggressive, more consensus-oriented people who find it easier to offer a choice than an ultimatum.