Negotiating tips for people who despise negotiating

Look upon the give-and-take as a win/win, rather than as having both sides end up unhappy. You’re establishing (or reinforcing) a long-term relationship, after all.

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I hate negotiating. (Hate negotiating.) To me, a negotiation always feels at least a little confrontational and I’m a confrontation-averse guy.

Unfortunately, negotiating is a fact of business life.

So if you, too, are an admitted negotiations dodger, here are a few ways to make negotiating a little less stressful, a little more fun, and a lot more successful:

1. Go first.

Many hesitate to make the first bid because they think going first could mean missing out on an opportunity. “If I quote a price of $5,000,” the thinking goes, “and he would have offered $7,000, then I leave money on the table.” In the real world that rarely happens, though, because the other side usually has a reasonable understanding of value.

The value of an offer is highly influenced by the first relevant number—an anchor—that enters a negotiation. That anchor strongly influences the rest of the negotiation. So go ahead and set that anchor. Make the first offer.

Research shows that when a seller makes the first offer the final price is typically higher than if the buyer made the first offer. Why? The buyer’s first offer will always be low. That sets a lower anchor.

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