Summary: Letting your counterpart vocalize his desired outcome first.
Often in a negotiation, your counterpart will try to “test the waters” by attempting to have you vocalize your outcome first, giving them the advantage of adjusting their offer and perhaps giving less than they were prepared to.
I was in the market for a new dishwasher. After researching different models and prices, I was ready to buy. During one shopping trip, I approached a salesman and said, “I have been shopping around and I can get a better price on this dishwasher at XYZ. I would like to purchase it here but need to know what the best price is you can give me.” He asked me, “What price did XYZ quote you?” He wanted me to Go First and divulge my bottom line. I stood firm and repeated my question, “What is the absolute best price you can give me?” After a long silence, he finally gave me a price that was well below anyone else’s price. By forcing him to Go First, I’m confident that I got a lower price. Had I gone first, he would have simply matched the price and not beaten it.
In this case, an effective counter would have been to use the tactic of Calling Your Bluff and ask for documentation. He could have said that he would consider a lower price if I could show him an advertisement or written bid with the lower price on it. Or, he could have utilized the tactic of We’ve Never Done That Before and simply state that it is not their policy to match other competitor’s prices. If he had given me the best price possible to start with, he could simply stand by that price.
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?