“There’s always a hidden fee in free. Don’t accept free without knowing what that hidden cost might be.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
As a negotiator, what do you consider when you hear free? Do you think about the hidden danger that may lurk in something that’s free? Sure, there could be value in the offer, but you should also beware of the hidden danger in anything that’s free.
When you hear the word free, your brain goes into a sense of euphoria. The endorphins begin to flow at the thought of receiving something for nothing. In such a mindset, you can become susceptible to lowering your guard. Doing that can leave you vulnerable to unsuspecting ploys. That can occur even when you’ve planned how you’ll address such offers. When you find yourself in such quandaries, consider the following.
What’s the offer attempting to achieve:
People are motivated by their aspirations. Thus, during a negotiation when offers are extended, a goal is at the purpose of that offer. If you’re aware of that intent, you’ll be in a better position to assess its potential value. Offers are not equal. Don’t let one that appears to be free become too costly for you to accept. Examine it thoroughly.
What’s to be gained:
Sometimes, acquiring a concession in a negotiation can add value to your overall goals. If the concession appears not to contain a cost, its allure may become bewitching. Be cautious when such appears to be the case. Good negotiators accumulate chits that they can use at other points in the negotiation. Thus, while you’re receiving what appears to be free, what you’re really receiving could be an IOU.
The timing of the offer:
The timing of an offer can obscure hidden dangers. If the intent is to obtain a greater concession, a negotiator may seek smaller ones to build towards the larger one. Thus, in some cases, positioning may be the goal. That means, offering something for free may be the setup or cover up for something to come.
Always be aware of where a concession or request may lead. Since negotiations are the accumulations of gains and concessions, you don’t want to make a concession thinking that it will lead to more gains. Or, acquire gains that are too costly, compared to the concessions you make to acquire them.
What do you have to concede:
In every negotiation, good negotiators have red herrings to use as chits or diversions. They can serve as bartering pieces that don’t contain a burdensome cost to you, or as distracters from the real intent of your offer. In a best-case scenario, a red herring should be perceived as something of value that you possess that can be dangled as a sought-after desire that the other negotiator wants. The more he’d like to possess it, the greater its perceived value will be. Thus, if it doesn’t cost you anything to relinquish, you can heighten its appeal by feigning great concern to part with it. The point is, don’t weaken red herrings by relinquishing them too easily. Doing so will weaken your negotiation position.
There’s a cost associated with everything we acquire, even if it’s just the time that we invest. Because time itself has a cost. If you keep in mind that nothing’s free, you’ll maintain a more prepared mind to assess the hidden cost and hidden dangers that may be concealed in free offers. Doing so will make you a better negotiator … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.TheMasterNegotiator.com/greg-williams/
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