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Negotiation Tactic #55 – Building a Bridge

Summary: Sometimes you need to toss your counterpart a rope or build a bridge that provides a path to a win-win negotiation.

Example

Squeaky Clean, a window washing company, is trying to get a large corporation as a customer. After a year of talking with the manager of the Facilities Department, the corporation still has not even asked for a bid from the window washing company. Finally, the owner of Squeaky Clean calls the Facilities Manager and says, “We really want to work with your company. Not only do we do a phenomenal job of keeping your windows clean, our price will be competitive. Because we want to work with you so badly, you pick the dirtiest side of your building, and to show you the quality of our work, we will clean all the windows on that side for free. With no money at risk, would you be willing to let us do this so that we can demonstrate our quality and commitment to your satisfaction?”

Counter

If the Facilities Manager does not want to switch window cleaning companies, the best counter in this situation would be a simple refusal of the offer. The manager could also use a Conditional No, saying he is unable to give Squeaky Clean the opportunity to showcase their work right now, but will request a bid from them in the next fiscal year.

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

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