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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 16-Dec-12

 


Sunday 16-December-12

Negative negotiations

I recently watched an edition of 'The Young Apprentice' here in the UK. Just like the adult version, it pits two teams of teenagers against each other in business tasks, with one person from the losing team being fired each week. For 16-17 year olds they are amazingly good. They also fall into the same traps of losing focus and forgetting the human side of things.

In the edition I watched, they had to negotiate with potential suppliers for products to sell. One team failed here by going in hard on pricing without connecting with the supplier first, nor showing any enthusiasm for the product. But what frustrated me most was the negative negotiation language.

Negative negotiation is making offers that use language that suggests the other person will not agree.
'You won't take less, will you?'
'I don't suppose you'd give more discount.'
'I guess that's your last offer, isn't it?'

Such language is often used with a resigned air that indicates the speaker does not expect anything and is about to give in. It tries to create sympathy, but unless a good relationship exists, it is doomed to fail.

In the show, the other team were enthusiastic about the product, complimenting the supplier on the design and offering a fair price. As a result they got the deal and the first team lost out.

Paradoxically, the product in question (a cardboard toilet, to be sold at a music festival) sold very few and the first team, who had to take another product (animal 'onesies'), ended up winning. Ah well. That's business for you.


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