How to get more when you Negotiate

I’ve recently been researching and trying out a what for me is a new approach to Negotiating, and I want to report back that it really works!  Anyone can do it, even if, like me, you don’t like Conflict.

I’ve always been schooled in the “Seek First to Understand” discipline, which basically involves this approach to a Negotiation:

Find out what the other party’s position is.  Adjust your position in the light of what you now know, and respond accordingly.

Now though I am experimenting with doing it the other way around:

Set the tone of the negotiation and the other party’s expectations by opening up with an aggressively high bid.

My previous Blog on this goes into the research behind this approach.  Basically it shows that if you use this system, you end up with significantly better results.

Our family tried this out for real only last week, in that wonderful negotiation practice arena, the car sale.  We have been trying to sell our parents’ car for a few months since Mum had a stroke.  The car is a Rover 213, which as you may know is not the world’s strongest brand of motor vehicle.  All our research said it should go for £300 or so.  Using the “aggressively high opening bid” approach, we advertised it at £1500, and sat and waited.  4 weeks later, Rebecca found a buyer who offered £1300, and we walked away £1000 better off than if we had done what might have been the easier option, ie go with the book price.

I am practising this approach, and am finding that, as with all conscious techniques, it requires the muscle to build before it comes naturally.  I’m an Accommodator on the TKI Conflict Profile, so I don’t like opening up Aggressively: it feels rude.  However, if it gets results I need to stick with it.

In this video I try out the two approaches with my ever tolerant fellow practitioner Mike Ponting, who plays the role of Aston Martin car salesman in this one.  Have a look and see what you think.

Do try it out for yourself.  This for me is a new muscle, and it requires regular practice  to develop it.  According to other research it takes 27 goes to change a Conscious Competence behaviour into an Unconscious one (so you don’t have to think about it any more).  So get practising, and do let me know how you get on!

About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at
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3 Responses to How to get more when you Negotiate

  1. Colin Smith says:

    Thank you for a first class video and for showing the two styles of negotiating. My style would have chosen the first example, but seeing the second has given more ‘food for thought’ on what I may do in the future. It also demonstrates very clearly the need for planning and thinking through possible scenarios, questions, etc., before starting. Also, the last resort position if the ‘dealer’ does not play ball. Enjoyed it.


    • Thanks for your comment Colin. Looking at it again I think it makes the point, although I am not sure I’m a good exponent of the second more aggressive style. I’m too much of an Accommodator, it just doesn’t fit! However, maybe that’s the point: if you plan an approach ans that requires a different version of “you” to succeed, then go along with it, however uncomfortable!


      • Colin Smith says:

        Thanks Michael. Maybe therein lies the bigger problem, most people go into a negotiation without a plan, or at least have taken it seriously enough to have thought about what they are going to say, etc. partly due to them not liking ‘confrontation’ and feeling they are no good at negotiating.


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