Over,under...and done!

Published: Jan 08 , 2015
Author: John Leehman

One of our clients was close to an agreement with a bank to offer a few preliminary services, which could pave the way for a large-scale project and substantial revenues.

 As often happens when deals are close to conclusion, the bank’s representative asked for one last concession. She said, “Since the ultimate deal (still not assured to my client) will be worth a lot of money, how about if you offer these preliminary services at no cost?”

 Though my client is flexible in many ways, the no-cost option was unacceptable under any circumstances. His instinctive reaction was to say “no” as politely as possible, but thanks to his experience taking the Scotwork course, he used the over/under method.

 My client’s reply was, “If your bank will offer us a $25,000 loan at no interest for six months, then we’ll be happy to offer you the preliminary services at no cost.” From his standpoint, the value of the loan at today’s interest and inflation rates was roughly equivalent to the value of his services.  Plus, it allowed him to say “yes” to an unacceptable proposal and put the ball back in the bank representative’s court.  Her good-humored response was, “I see your point!  I certainly can’t make no-interest loans. Let’s discuss the details of your original proposal.”

 An over/under proposal is rarely used to seal a deal.  Rather, it puts a mirror up to the person making the unacceptable proposal so it will hopefully disappear.  So, whenever necessary, look for a condition that makes the other side’s proposal acceptable to you—no matter how extreme your counterproposal might be. Because “yes” is far more powerful than “no.”

 John Leehman

Scotwork North America


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About the author:

John Leehman
John has been an entrepreneur for four decades, building nationally recognized companies in the construction, fashion, health & wellness and consumer products industries. He brings this wealth of negotiation and management experience to transform the performance of his clients.

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It's All in the Timing

Tommy Cooper was one of the funniest comedians ever. How do I know? Well partly because he has 13 of the best jokes in the top 50 gags of all time. A personal favourite being, “heard the one about two aerials meeting on a roof, falling in love, and getting married? The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant”. Telling a good joke is not just about the content. It is also in the timing of the delivery. The same could also be said about negotiation. Picking your time to enter into a negotiation can have a significant impact on its progression and your outcome.

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