Summary: Asking a question to redirect the conversation.
It may not be in your best interest to answer a counterpart’s question if you do not have enough information to make an educated or appropriate response. In those situations, Deflecting an Answer with a Great Question is appropriate.
A salesperson asks you, “If I could get this model in blue, your favorite color, would you be willing to purchase the unit today?” You respond by stating, “How long would it take you to locate a blue model and have it delivered?” You have not made a commitment, and at the same time you have asked a great question, which could yield information important to your purchasing decision. When negotiating to buy something, you can almost always make more gains before committing to buy than afterward.
If someone uses this tactic on you, the counter is to answer the question to the best of your ability and confirm that your answer is acceptable to your counterpart. Once you have agreement or understanding, return to Asking a Closed-Ended Question to gain commitment to buy: “If I can have the blue model delivered by this weekend, would you be willing to purchase the unit today?”
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?