Monday, January 24, 2011

Negotiate as a Reluctant Seller to Squeeze the Negotiating Range

Imagine for a moment that you own a sailboat, and you're desperate to sell it. It was fun when you first got it, but now you hardly ever use it, and the maintenance and slip fees are eating you alive.

It's early Sunday morning, and you've given up a chance to play golf with your friends because you need to be down at the marina cleaning your boat. You're scrubbing away and cursing your stupidity for ever having bought the boat. Just as you're thinking "I'm going to give this turkey away to the next person who comes along," you look up and see an expensively dressed man with a young girl on his arm coming down the dock. He's wearing Gucci loafers, white slacks, and a blue Burberry's blazer topped off with a silk cravat. His young girlfriend is wearing high heels, a silk sheath dress, big sunglasses, and huge diamond earrings.

They stop at your boat and the man says, "That's a finelooking boat. By any chance is it for sale?" His girlfriend snuggles up to him and says, "Oh, let's buy it. We'll have so much fun."

You feel your heart start to burst with joy and your mind is singing "Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!" Expressing that sentiment is not going to get you the best price for your boat, is it?

How are you going to get the best price? By playing Reluctant Seller.

You keep on scrubbing and say,
"You're welcome to come aboard, although I hadn't thought of selling the boat."

You give them a tour of the boat, and at every step of the way you tell them how much you love the boat and how much fun you have sailing her.

Finally you tell them,
"I can see how perfect this boat would be for you and how much fun you'd have with it, but I really don't think I could ever bear to part with it. However, just to be fair to you, what is the very best price you would
give me?"

Power Negotiators know that this Reluctant Seller technique squeezes the negotiating range before the negotiating even starts. If you've done a good job of building the other person's desire to own the boat, he will have formed a negotiating range in his mind.

He may be thinking
"I'd be willing to go to $30,000, $25,000 would be a fair deal, and $20,000 would be a bargain." So, his negotiating range is from $20,000 to $30,000. Just by playing Reluctant Seller, you will have moved him up through that range. If you had appeared eager to sell, he may have offered you only $20,000.

By playing Reluctant Seller you may move him to the midpoint or even the high point of his negotiating range before the negotiations even start.

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