Summary: Asking your counterpart for leniency before making their first offer.
There are times when you want the best available product or service but do not want to pay the price that the top products or services command.
In searching for a certified public accountant, we were given the names of three individuals who were qualified and experienced with our type of business. We interviewed the first two accountants and requested they create a proposal. We scheduled the third accountant for the last interview because two different people who referred this accountant to us said she was one of the best, but, “Very, very expensive.” When we met with the third accountant, we shared the background of how she was referred to us and her associated reputation on price. We ended the meeting by saying, “We would love to work with you but we are not sure if we can afford your fees. Since we are a small business, when you work up the proposal, will you go easy on us?”
In this situation an effective counter could be the Feel, Felt, and Found. The accountant might have responded, “I can understand that since you have not experienced the high level of service I provide, you might feel my fees are high. Many of my existing clients felt the same way you do until they discovered that the amount I am able to save them is substantial compared to the fees I charge for my services.”
A second tactic that may work well in this situation is to Lose the Battle to Win the War. The accountant may have stated something like, “I will give you a new client discount so that you will quickly see that the value gained by my professional services will make the fees seem inconsequential.”
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?