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!