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Negotiation Tactic #40 – The Trial Balloon

Summary: Testing to see how firm a counterpart is on certain issues.

Finding out how firm your counterpart is on the key issues is often helpful in a negotiation. You can get some information by sending up a Trial Balloon and watching your counterpart’s reaction. This tactic may give you a better understanding of what to expect when you get down to doing the final negotiation.

Example

A home seller is asking $450,000 for her house. The buyer might say, “I can give you $430,000 in cash and have the money to you in one week. Would you be willing to sell me your house at that price?”

Counter

In this example, the YIKES! You’ve Got to Be Kidding! tactic could prove effective. A second effective counter could be the response, “That’s Not Good Enough.” A third possible counter could be to support the $450,000 asking price with Facts and Statistics, citing the selling price for comparable homes in the neighborhood.

Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?

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