Summary: Selecting the midpoint between two counterparts’ offers.
When two parties are apart on an issue and the negotiation seems to be at a stalemate, one counterpart can offer to split the difference with the other.
You are buying a car and do not want to pay any more than $5,800. The seller does not want to come down any further than $6,000. Since you are $200 apart, either of you could offer to split the difference and do the deal for $5,900.
The rule of thumb in this situation is to let your counterpart offer to split the difference. If you make the offer, your counterpart knows you are willing to pay the higher price. A good solution is to state, “We are only two hundred dollars apart. What should we do?” If the seller offers to split the difference, you know she is willing to accept $5,900. With this new information, you, as the buyer, could counter, “You have just stated that you are willing to take $5,900 for your car. I am willing to give you $5,800. That makes us only $100 apart. Why don’t we split the difference and do the deal for $5,850?”
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?