Split the Difference
This is probably the most used negotiation strategy because it’s usually balanced to both sides. I think most people have used this at one time or another in discussions. It’s a basic strategy that is easily agreed to because it enables both people to move close to the middle or concede to the same amount of movement towards the middle in a negotiation.
For that reason alone it feels fair and reasonable to all parties because they feel they have compromised equally or close to equally.
For instance, say you go to a yard sale, which has been previously pointed out to be one of the best “low stakes” places to go for low risk negotiation training. You find an item you want to buy and make an offer. Let’s say you see a lawnmower you want to buy. Yours just broke down completely and is un-repairable. The lawnmower at the yard sale is in good condition. You test it out and it runs great. The yard saler offers it at $50. You think that’s a little high so you offer $30. The yard saler asks if you will split the difference (meet in the middle) and agree to $40. You agree and make the deal.
In this example you both moved $10 and made a deal for $40. The same could happen if you offered $40 and then agreed on $45. It works with time as well. Say you wanted to meet someone for coffee at 7pm. They can’t make 7pm so they ask to meet at 8. 8 is too late for you because you have another event to go to at 9:00 and need time to get there. So you ask to meet at 7:30 and they agree. You’ve just split the different/met in the middle of the time you are meeting.
This is a fallback strategy to always keep in your pocket. It’s simple, easy and effective. It works because both sides feel they are getting a good deal and although may have moved on their original offer, it doesn’t end with either side feeling taken advantage of.
This is the easiest way to achieve a win-win outcome in your negotiations.
See you next week!
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, MSgt USAF Retired