How to Make Concessions More Successfully

How to Make Concessions More Successfully

We have shown that those who make concessions readily – givers – can be the least successful negotiators but they can also be the most successful ones.  The difference is how you make those concessions: are you a passive Giver who never looks out for himself or are you an active Giver who helps out the other guy while also helping yourself?

If I’m a passive Giver, how do I transition to a Giver who stands up for myself?  As the Wharton School’s Adam Grant puts it in his book Give and Take, how do you go from a chump to a champ? This is an especially important question for managers of negotiators:

How do I make sure that the people negotiating on the front lines, on my department’s behalf, aren’t giving away the store?
Not an easy thing, but here’s one idea: change your mental model.  I’ve started working on this topic with Bill Anton, a clinical psychologist who headed the department at the University of South Florida, and for many years has coached CEOs in leadership.
business negotiation One of Bill’s recent books is titled Business Success Through Self Knowledge. That title gives the first step in transitioning from passive Giver to successful Giver: self-awareness.
You have to ask yourself:
Why do I shy away from negotiating; from standing up for myself?
The answer is that it has to do with your self-image – this mental model of how you see yourself.  Very few people consciously say, even to themselves, I’m a giver. Givers say about themselves,  “I help people out, and the public perception of me is that I’m generous; I’m not out for myself.”
Then comes time to negotiate, where you do have to be assertive by asking for a lot, and not giving in immediately, and people find that very hard to do because they say:
“That’s not me.  I don’t want people thinking of me as piggy.”
People get trapped by the assumption that they don’t want to be unfair by ask for more than the fair price: it would be like cheating the other person out of what’s fair.  But when buying in a complex market, you really don’t know what the fair price is.  You make an assumption you know what it is, but there’s a built-in flaw in your assumption that often works against you. The fair price is highly subjective.  And the game of negotiation is to test the marketplace out. That’s not being piggy.  That’s the way the game should be played. That alone will allow you to be more assertive when you negotiate without violating your self-image as a giver.
There’s a lot more to overcoming the reluctance than just keeping in mind that the market range may well be larger than you assume, but that is the most important first step.