The Trade-Off

“If I do that for you … what will you do for me?” That’s a trade-off … and it’s a very useful tactical tool to add to your negotiation skills repertoire.

The trade-off is probably the most above-board negotiating tactic in the whole bag of tricks people carry with them into the bargaining arena. The trade-off is simply swapping concessions at the bargaining table until everyone agrees with the terms.

Here’s when you might use the trade-off:

Your teenager asks for “extra” money for an upcoming school event.
Your employee asks for an additional 1/2-day off on Friday preceding a vacation.
Your customer uses the “Oh! By the way” nibbling technique at the end of negotiations to get you to pay delivery charges. You say “If I do that for you … what will you do for me?”

Here’s what you might get:

A commitment from your teenager to feed the dogs and clean up her/his room.
Some help from your employee in the upcoming year-end inventory.
An additional order from your customer in return for paying the delivery charges.

Here’s the simple rule: Never make a concession without getting one in return.

Try using the trade-off the next time you are asked for a concession … it works!!

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 business and legal professionals. Call 1-800-859-0888 for more information.

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