So you let them go first... do you!

We had a poll the other week on LinkedIn about who makes a proposal first in a negotiation and I find the results interesting.

I wondered if they might tell us something important about our personal negotiation skills/styles and what we could learn.

  • 60% said they would let the other party go first
  • 40% said they would go first.

There were some really interesting comments but only one came close to the insight I was hoping for!

That’s because there is one profoundly important reason for pitching your position to the other party and I'll get to that, but what great comments and observations; all providing part of the picture:

  • “Anchoring” bias
  • Using “Range” tactics
  • Market Knowledge
  • Lots of questioning
  • Knowing ZOPA
  • Confidence
  • Homework
  • Go first… test the water… go high... ‘expect’ push back.
  • Proposal move negotiations forward
  • Sales go first
  • If you’re knowledgeable then you go first.
  • It’s a balance of power.

What do you think?…

I get the impression it’s “knowledge, homework and confidence” that will have the biggest impact on who goes first. Perhaps the results suggest less of us are as prepared to propose first ... because we don’t have confidence in our information and so will wait for the other party to “go first”?!

It seems sales are far more confident in making a proposal first; I wonder if it’s because they’ll be clued up about their product, the client experience, the market and the other market players… ie, they know more about the market.

All of this is right…. Information is hugely important but it’s not the only reason to go first.

I think John Attridge came close to my personal reason for asking the question when he stated “go first, test the water, go high, explicitly expect push back”

John is right ...we can expect push back but the biggest question is “what type of pushback”. Is it a ‘NO’ or a ‘no’ … they are very very different.

I believe Observation skill are THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL OF A NEGOTIATOR and it's one you can't develop from a book… you need to practice it.

Thank you everyone who voted... your participation was awesome and do let us know what you think of my interpretation.


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