amichalek writes "by Roger Dawson
Power Negotiators know that anytime the other side asks you
for a concession in the negotiations, you should automatically
ask for something in return. Let's look at a couple of ways of
using the Trade-Off Gambit:
o Let's say that you have sold your house, and the buyers ask
you if they could move some of their furniture into the garage
three days before closing. Although you wouldn't want to let them
move into the house before closing, you see an advantage in letting
them use the garage. It will get them emotionally involved and
far less likely to create problems for you at closing. So you're
almost eager to make the concession, but I want you to remember
the rule: However small the concession they're asking you for,
always ask for something in return. Say to them, "Let me
check with my family and see how they feel about that, but let
me ask you this: If we do that for you, what will you do for us?"
o Perhaps you sell forklifts and you've sold a large order to
a warehouse style hardware store. They've requested delivery on
August 15-30 days ahead of their grand opening. Then the operations
manager for the chain calls you and says, "We're running
ahead of schedule on the store construction. We're thinking of
moving up the store opening to take in the Labor Day weekend.
Is there any way you could move up delivery of those fork lifts
to next Wednesday?" You may be thinking, "That's great.
They're sitting in our local warehouse ready to go, so I'd much
rather move up the shipment and be paid sooner. We'll deliver
them tomorrow if you want them." Although your initial inclination
is to say, "That's fine," I still want you to use the
Trade-Off Gambit. I want you to say, "Quite frankly I don't
know whether we can get them there that soon. I'll have to check
with my scheduling people, and see what they say about it. But
let me ask you this, if we can do that for you, what can you do
One of three things is going to happen when you ask for
something in return:
1. You might just get something. The buyers of your house
may be willing to increase the deposit, buy your patio furniture,
or give your dog a good home. The hardware storeowners may just
have been thinking, "Boy, have we got a problem here. What
can we give them as an incentive to get them to move this shipment
up?" So, they may just concede something to you. They may
just say, "I'll tell accounting to cut the check for you
today." Or "Take care of this for me, and I'll use you
again for the store that we're opening in Chicago in December."
2) By asking for something in return, you elevate the value
of the concession. When you're negotiating, why give anything
away? Always make the big deal out of it. You may need that later.
Later you may be doing the walk through with the buyers of the
house, and they've found a light switch that doesn't work. You're
able to say, "Do know how it inconvenienced us to let you
move your furniture into the garage? We did that for you, and
now I want you to overlook this small problem." Later you
may need to be able to go to the people at the hardware store
and say, "Do you remember last August when you needed me
to move that shipment up for you? You know how hard I had to talk
to my people to get them to re-schedule all our shipments? We
did that for you, so don't make me wait for our money. Cut me
the check today, won't you?" When you elevate the value of
the concession, you set it up for a trade-off later.
3) It stops the grinding away process. This is the key
reason why you should always use the Trade-Off Gambit. If they
know that every time they ask you for something, you're going
to ask for something in return, then it stops them constantly
coming back for more. I can't tell you how many times a student
of mine has come up to me at seminar or called my office and said
to me, "Roger, can you help me with this? I thought I had
a sweetheart of a deal put together. I didn't think that I would
have any problems at all with this one. But in the very early
stages, they asked me for a small concession. I was so happy to
have their business that I told them, 'Sure, we can do that.'
A week later they called me for another small concession, and
I said: 'All right, I guess I can do that too.' Ever since then,
it's been one darn thing after another. Now it looks as though
the whole thing is going to fall apart on me." He should
have known up front that when the other person asked him for that
first small concession, he should have asked for something in
return. "If we can do that for you, what can you do for us?"
I trained the top 50 salespeople at a Fortune 50 company that
manufactures office equipment. They have what they call a Key
Account Division that negotiates their largest accounts with their
biggest customers. These people are heavy hitters. A salesperson
at the seminar had just made a $43 million sale to an aircraft
manufacturer. (That's not a record. When I trained people at a
huge computer manufacturer's training headquarters, a salesperson
in the audience had just closed a $3 billion dollar sale-and he
was in my seminar taking notes!) This Key Account Division had
its own vice-president, and he came up to me afterward to tell
me, "Roger, that thing you told us about trading-off was
the most valuable lesson I've ever learned in any seminar. I've
been coming to seminars like this for years and thought that I'd
heard it all, but I'd never been taught what a mistake it is to
make a concession without asking for something in return. That's
going to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future."
Jack Wilson, who produced my video training tapes, told me that
soon after I taught him this Gambit, he used it to save several
thousand dollars. A television studio called him and told him
that one of their camera operators was sick. Would Jack mind if
they called one of the camera operators that Jack had under contract
and ask him if he could fill in? It was just a courtesy call.
Something that Jack would have said, "No problem," to
in the past. However, this time he said, "If I do that for
you, what will you do for me?" To his surprise, they said,
"Tell you what. The next time you use our studio, if you
run overtime, we'll waive the overtime charge." They had
just conceded several thousand dollars to Jack, on something that
he never would have asked for in the past.
Please use this Gambit word for word the way that I'm teaching
them to you. If you change even a word, it can dramatically change
the effect. If, for example, you change this from, "If we
can do that for you what can you do for us?" to "If
we do that for you, you will have to do this for us," you
have become confrontational. You've become confrontational at
a very sensitive point in the negotiations-when the other side
is under pressure and is asking you for a favor. Of course, you're
tempted to take advantage of this situation and ask for something
specific in return. Don't do it. It could cause the negotiation
to blow up in your face.
When you ask what they will give you in return, they may say,
"Not a darn thing," or "You get to keep our business,
that's what you get." That's fine, because you had everything
to gain by asking and you haven't lost anything. If necessary,
you can always revert to a position of insisting on a trade-off
by saying, "I don't think I can get my people to agree to
that unless you're prepared to accept a charge for expedited shipping"
or "unless you're willing to move up the payment date."
Key points to remember:
o When asked for a small concession by the other side, always
ask for something in return.
o Use this expression: "If we can do that for you, what can
you do for me?"
o You may just get something in return.
o It elevates the value of the concession so that you can use
it as a trade-off later.
o Most important, it stops the grinding away process.
o Don't change the wording and ask for something specific in return
because it's too confrontational.
Roger Dawson is a professional speaker and the author of
two best selling books on negotiating: Secrets of Power Negotiating
and Secrets of Power Negotiating for Salespeople, both published
by Career Press. He was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame
in 1991. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His
website address is: http://rdawson.com."