Avoid Giving Away Too Much At The Negotiating Table

I think it’s pretty much a universal truth that trading 1 full size candy bar for 4 snack-sized chips is a good deal on the post-halloween candy market. And that those little rolls of smarties or rockets aren’t gonna get you a whole heck of a lot…

how to protect your interests in a negotiation devon smiley.png

We grow up with the concept of trading. We trade candy, lunches, baseball cards, stickers. We understand the market. What has value. What the hot rate items are. How to build our bargaining power by strategically withholding some of our supply.

And then we get to be adults and we start doing ‘proper’ negotiations and our comfort with trading goes out the window. Here’s why we need to get back into it, and how to do it effectively in your negotiations.

Getting into the rhythm of trading is a must - because it very purposefully helps protect us from our tendencies to give too much away in hopes of landing a deal. If you’re across the negotiation table from someone who’s a-ok with take take taking…then you’ll be give give giving. The result? Sure - you get a deal. But there’s so little value left for you that it’s really not worth anything to your business. You’ve shared too little or paid too much, you’ve risked your operations, you’ve jeopardized the sustainability of your business…all because you gave without taking.


When you’ve prepared for your negotiation - researched, found your BATNA, established the MDO and LAA (I’ll link to those videos when they're live) you’re going to have a whole heap of different variables that could come into play during a negotiation. And strategically, what you need to do is play with those variables. It’ like dumping out a bunch of lego building blocks. There are many ways they could come together to create a final product, and it’s your job to find those possible combinations.

For example:

If you purchase 100 units, I can meet a price of $50 per unit.

If you commit to a 3 year agreement, I can assign a senior consultant.

If you waive the moral rights clause, I can meet a June 1 project delivery.

Notice - in each of those, you’re linking what you can give, to something that you’ll take from the other person. It may sound pedantic to practice phrasing them like that - but it helps you get into the routine of always having the giving and receiving actions linked in your offers.

using trades to get what you need in a negotiation devon smiley.png

Want to take trading to the next level in your negotiations? Mix up what variables you’re pairing together. It’s not always volume and price. It could be volume and delivery, volume and resources, delivery and engineering support. Just like those legos. It’s not always red and blue that need to click together. Get the best result by getting creative in those combos.

Your challenge this week is to come up with 3 trading phrases for your very next ask.

If you do x, then I can do y.

Get yourself into that trading rhythm


Got it? Good. See you next time.