In negotiations, there are a lot of games that take place. We might not like them, preferring to go straight to the point and getting what both parties want. But what is the fun in that, right? Well part of the game is offer of something free during the negotiations. Usually it is something so tempting and perceived to be harmless. The offer of free things is a tactical mind. It is designed to lower your guard, distract you as it were, while the other party goes for what they really wanted all along. The moment you accept the free offer, you have ceded ground to the other party and they will punish you for it.
Why Are Free Things So Alluring Anyway?At the negotiating table, you have a lot at stake. Every side is looking for any advantage they might get to get one over on the other person. To negotiate effectively, one has to be really focused the entire time. When the prospect of a free deal comes up, the temptation is to go find out more about. In a sense, the free item is a diversion that is very tempting to fall for. In most cases all us do, at some point.
Free things are appealing, first of all, because they connote an easy win. In hardline negotiations where parties do not move an inch until one of them concedes, the offer something free is often used to soften positions. In the receiver’s mind, the free thing mean that their stance on issues is working. They have got an easy win and can loosen up their stances.
Another reason is that something free requires zero-effort to get. In tough negotiations, a lot of energy is spent digging in on tough positions. This can take a toll on the negotiators both physically and psychologically. When an offer of getting something with zero-effort is floated, they eventually consider and some even take it.
Finally, the allure of getting something for nothing is just too much to pass up. In a nutshell, free concessions mean that the party receiving them will not have to use any of their resources to obtain it.
Staying Grounded During Negotiations And Avoiding Free ThingsFriedrich Nietzsche remarked that the value of something cannot be gauged by what one does with it, but what it costs them. In other words, the price of what you want translates to its worth. Most of us look at the effects of having something and if its obtained freely, all the better for them. As a budding negotiator, always look at the angles. You need to know what the person is angling at. Try to think forward as much as possible to anticipate any and all problems that might arise from what is obtained for free. This way you can call out the individual offering that free concession for being duplicitous in their actions.
You must avoid getting carried away by the allure of the free thing. It will only distract you from the real prize of the negotiations which will be getting your own way in the end. That is all that matters. Always keep your eyes on the big picture, forget the brush strokes, so to speak.
Below are the key things that will keep you grounded as you look for the main prize during your negotiations.