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Negotiation Tactic #87 – Setting a Time Limit

Summary: Imposing a time limit for making a decision.

At any time during a negotiation, either party may Set a Time Limit on agreeing to a particular deal point. But remember, you don’t have to accept any limits your counterpart sets. In fact, it’s a good idea to question all of your counterpart’s limits. On the other hand, it’s also a good idea to go into a negotiation with your own limits in mind.

Example

You make an offer on a house. The seller counters with a price that’s two thousand dollars higher, and gives you just twenty-four hours to make a decision.

Counter

First, you could counter with the tactic of Asking an Open-Ended Question, and inquire why the seller is imposing this time limit. Second, using the tactic of That’s Not Good Enough, you could tell the seller that the time limit is unacceptable–just make sure you’re prepared to walk away. A third option would be Moving the Deadline: tell the seller you can’t respond within twenty-four hours, but will reply in forty-eight hours. This tactic would give you more time to make a better decision. Fourth, you could simply ignore the time limit.

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

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