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Get unstuck from a weak position

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in Office Management

Even the best negotiators dread operating from a “one-down” position in which they’re needier than their adversary.

If you’re desperate to buy but the seller can take or leave your offer, then revealing desperation can lead to disaster. Some ways to regain your footing:

Keep quiet. Even if you’re sure you’re out of leverage, get members of the other side to talk. Collect information on what they need. The more you listen, the more you might discover a hidden strength that you possess, such as access to a network of customers or technical know-how that’s worth more than you realize.

To limit your speaking, use friendly prompts such as “Are you expecting a busy holiday season?” or “I enjoyed hearing about your recent success. Tell me more.”

Increase your buying power. Enlist allies who can join you in negotiating a more favorable deal, such as a volume discount. Attaching yourself to other buyers can strengthen your hand.

Look ahead. Even if you’re in a tenuous position now, negotiate based on future assets. Examples include locking in favorable rates over time or postponing final resolution of sticking points until you settle on more immediate issues.

Deny and deflect. Pretend you have lots of options, even if you don’t. Act like you’re willing to walk away. If the other person implies you lack room to maneuver, say, “This is just one of many possibilities” or “I’ll be fine regardless.”

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