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Negotiators: Beware of the Hidden Danger in Free Value

“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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The Danger In The ‘Us Versus Them’ Dilemma

“When it comes to an ‘us versus them’ mentality, potential danger looms in the inability to understand ‘them’.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“If we stick together, we can overcome them.” Those were the words of a devoted follower of his group. That is, he was a follower until he realized that he did not want to follow the group in the direction it was going.

There’s danger in the ‘us versus them’ mindset; it’s a dilemma people don’t realize when they’re in it. So, what is that danger and why should you be mindful of its pitfalls?

Psychologically, everyone needs to belong to an entity that’s larger than themselves. That’s not the dangerous part of the dilemma; the danger lies in the degree that you’re willing to follow the group, based on your own beliefs, and the confliction that might be caused as the result of those two being out of sync with one another. It also highlights what can occur, per how you view what the group terms as enemies of its norms. You hear that in the intonation of, “they’re not like us.” Therefore, something must be wrong with them.

If one adopts the latter mindset, their mind becomes clouded by the prominent thought that someone that doesn’t share the same norms as the group that they belong to, must be ‘missing the boat’ (i.e. not seeing something right). Once such a mindset is adopted, you’ll seek confirmation in the actions of those that are unlike your group, to confirm why you can’t treat them like you treat members of your group. In essence, your mind will have been jaded to receiving positive thoughts and ideas that might otherwise allow you to see ‘the others’ in a positive light.

If you want to be more open-minded, do so by believing, and allowing your thoughts to be moved by, the thinking that people may have different opinions and perspectives about something, but because they do, that doesn’t make them wrong or a bad person.

When it comes to ‘us versus them’, keep an open mind with the intent to discover something new about the perspective being discussed. Doing so will allow you to gain more insight into anything that you weigh. That will make you a more informed individual … and everything will be right with the world.

What does this have to do with negotiations? 

In a negotiation, you should always be mindful as to how you’re being influenced by the biases you have, towards the person making the proposal or offer. Even if you don’t like the initial offer, don’t let your initial emotions alter its appearance. There may be more than meets the eye, if you keep an open mind and consider any hidden benefits the offer might contain.

Good negotiators are aware that they can control a negotiation better, by controlling themselves. When it comes to, ‘us versus them’ in a negotiation, such a demeanor will only serve as a blight on an otherwise more successful negotiation outcome.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

What are your thoughts? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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