The Fundamental Law of Negotiation
But the most important thing is that there is a balance of values for each party in the negotiation:
value given must be greater than or equal to value receivedIf you think about it, this is pretty obvious. I'm not going to want a deal where I think I'm giving away more than I'm getting, and neither are you. What about those times when you feel that you've had your arm twisted in a negotiation and you were forced to accept an arrangement that you didn't like? This may surprise you, but that still falls under the fundamental rule of negotiation. You were convinced that what you had was of such low inherent value that you would have to give up a lot to get what you wanted ... and you thought that what you received was so important that you were willing to give up all that you did so you could get it.
That formulation often makes people who don't like to negotiate scratch their heads. "But I felt pressured to take the deal." Yes, you did, because you talked yourself into it. Look at some of these scenarios:
- You take a first low offer for taking a job. Why? You've scared to ask for more because you think they'll give the job to someone else and you don't think you could get another job.
- You start dating someone dicey because it is your "last chance" of finding companionship -- i.e., you're convinced that you aren't good enough to interest someone better. (Or, in some cases, you've got yourself set on a group of characteristics in someone else that may not reliably deliver what it is that you really want to value.)
- You give in to your child on something because you don't want to hear the whining or complaining. In other words, having short-term peace is more important to you in that moment of decision than setting a better precedent.
- Your boss asks for an impossible task in a ridiculous time frame. Fearing for your job, you agree and then work days, nights, and weekends, feeling miserable in the process, when a simple question of whether it would be possible to have some more time (giving the explanation of why that would make sense) might have changed the situation. You think you have so little value that your employer is ready to dump you, even though, in today's economy, were that the case, it might have already happened.
- You're making a purchase but think that the item is expensive and you pay more than you wanted to. In this case, you were assuming that the item had such tremendous value for the seller that he or she wouldn't have come down in price. Now, to be fair, the person might not have. But do you really think that this is the only place to purchase the item? And in today's economy, there are a lot of places that value any business that comes in.