The Big Three

“Take it or leave it”, “Let’s just split it down the middle”, and The Wince … These are “The Big Three”.

Most people learn what they know about the vital subject of negotiation by accident. We learn on the playgrounds of our childhood. We learn at school. We learn at home. We learn early in our careers when somebody really takes advantage of us.

Everyone encounters “The Big Three”. Everyone knows how to use “The Big Three”. Once you read this article you will know how to respond to “The Big Three”.

“Take It Or Leave It”

We’ve all heard it. We’ve all used it.

What will you do the next time “Take it or leave it” is thrown at you?

Try silence first. Silence is one of the most powerful moves you can make in the game. The first person that speaks after “Take it or leave it” usually makes a concession. Try it and see.

“Why do you say that?” is another great response. Sometimes your counterpart will actually tell you why they just said “take it or leave it”. Time constraints, frustration, lack of authority, may be what they really mean. All of these objections and many others can be neutralized once on the table. Just ask, “Why do you say that?”

“Let’s Just Split It Down The Middle”

What do we immediately know when someone makes this offer to us? We know they are willing to make a concession if they can gain one in return.

But does your return concession have to be equal! Almost never! When someone asks to “Split it down the middle” say this … “I can’t justify an even split … but split it once more and we have a deal.” It works almost every time.

The Wince

Everybody knows this one … “Oh my God!” … “Your prices are outrageous” … “We never thought we would have to pay that much” … “$250,000?” … “Be home by 10:00 PM?” These are winces.

Your make an offer … positional in nature … for money, for time, for anything measurable … and your counterpart winces! What do you do?

Silence – The first person to speak loses. Repeat – Restate your position in a non-belligerent fashion. Joke – Act like your counterpart thought the position was great instead of unacceptable. Escalate – Make your position more extreme. Feel-Felt-Found – Commiserate, generalize, then explain and distinguish.

There are more …

In my book, Negotiate like the Pros I discuss in great detail “The Big Three” along with eleven other powerful negotiating tactics. Ask for it at your bookstore or call my office 760-775-3739, and we will rush you your own autographed copy.

Powerful negotiating skills are more important today than ever. Master your responses to “The Big Three”; learn about other tactics, and practice- practice- practice. Then you will be able to Negotiate like the Pros™.

John Patrick Dolan, Attorney at Law, Certified Specialist Criminal Law, CSP, CPAE is a recognized expert in the field of negotiation. He travels throughout the world presenting lively keynote speeches and in-depth training programs for negotiating for lawyers for business and legal professionals. Call 760-775-3739 for more information.


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