Sunday, January 18, 2009

Born-in Negotiating Skills?

While I don’t believe that negotiators are born and that they are made, I do believe that we all have some natural negotiating skills built in to our psyche. My example to support this statement is my little daughter who is three and a half. She can out-negotiate me most any day of the week.

The Pajama If/Then: At bedtime I’ll pick out her pajamas because if I let her do it we’ll be there all day. Tonight she doesn’t want to wear the purple jammies and she wants the pink jammies. I tell her no because they aren’t warm enough. She promises me that if I will let her wear the pink jammies then she’ll will sleep under the blanket tonight. I give in. The if/then tactic is a tit for tat approach for both parties to get what they want.

The Cookie Nibble:
When my daughter doesn’t eat dinner like she should she knows that she can’t have a cookie that evening. I’ll go get myself a cookie and the next thing I know she is standing under me. “Daddy, I know I can’t have a cookie, but could I just taste it a little?” Naturally she’ll get a cookie. A nibble is a sales tactic that adds profitable options to a done deal, such as window tinting on a car where you pay $250 for $25 worth of tinting.

The Princess Stall: Often we’ll read some books before my daughter goes to bed and usually they are books about princesses. In order to keep from having to go to bed my daughter will extend her reading time by begging me to read just one more book. Often this is followed by the statement “but Dad I really am learning how to read! Please! Please! Please! Just one more book!” Naturally I pick up Snow White and start reading. The stall tactic is used to gain more time for bargaining or to lengthen the negotiation in order to wear down the other party.

Watch your kids as they negotiate with you. Some of their tactics are brilliant and very effective, and you’ll lose money if you don’t watch out!


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