You are probably making a mistake if you think the other party is trying to insult you. Remember, it’s likely that we’ve been on both ends of what is commonly called a ridiculous offer or low-ball offer. Perhaps we’ve tendered one or been on the receiving side and reviewed one.
There’s nothing wrong with this as I’ve learned long ago from a client whose business acumen I respect and appreciate immensely … “Asking is Free!”
Good negotiators have proven to be adept at receiving these. Their secret? It’s the ability to avoid a knee jerk reaction that leads one to feel insulted.
Handling the Low-Ball Offer
- Whether it’s the ability to pause, count to 10, or just realize that these things happen, cooler heads must prevail somehow. Let’s add another perspective. Success in dealing with ridiculous offers hinges upon one’s ability to see the other party’s perspective.
- If there is no sincere interest in attaining agreement, low-ball offers are simply an attempt to insult. But rarely does an interested party have that motive.
- Interested parties, those who are motivated to put a deal together, are often prone to send a message. The proverbial ‘shot across the bow’ can shock the receiving party to rethink their price or position. That assumes, however, that the receiving party can get past the insult.
The key message here is to not overreact or get insulted. If you want a deal with this opponent proceed positively and professionally
We might be wise to temper or soften a ridiculous offer before making it.
What if we (or our client) want to make that low-ball offer?
I can’t say that this is a failed strategy. I can say, however, that such an offer should pass through an analysis filter. That filter is simply a question. “What would cause the party receiving my low-ball offer to accept or even seriously consider this offer?”
If more people would use this filter, I’m convinced more productive negotiations would result. An honest, seeing both sides, perspective would typically cause one to rethink that ridiculous offer before communicating it.
- If the intent of this ridiculous offer is to ‘send a message’, then make the offer.
- If instead, it is to launch productive negotiations, one might want to better their offer or include a tempering introduction. Here’s an example of how you can “position” what your opponent might perceive as a ridiculous offer.
Such a tempering introduction might sound like, “I’ve not been able to find anything in the marketplace that supports your price and I hope that this proposal, while aggressive, will lead to more discussion.”
This approach is most effective in providing a calmer reception to a seemingly ridiculous offer. It’s likely to still be an insulting offer, but at least a justification has been provided.
It’s really this simple. It’s of course legal to make low-ball offers. They are made each and every day. They always have and they always will. The real key is the ability to move beyond the likely insult potential and create an environment for future negotiations. Think twice and use this filter before you consider making a ridiculous offer. That strategy will serve you well as you KEEP Negotiating.
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