Description: There’s always a certain amount of posturing in negotiation, but sometimes things can get unnecessarily heated. WHEN USED PROPERLY, one of the simplest but most effective techniques for attacking a proposal you don’t like is to ask, “Why?”
“Why?” is a general-purpose counter-tactic that can keep you in control of a difficult negotiation. If your counter-party hits you with a “now or never” or a “take it or leave it” ultimatum, you don’t have to respond directly. Change the energy by CALMLY asking – “why is it so urgent all of a sudden – is everything OK at your firm?”
Don’t be challenging or aggressive. Just inquire why the situation is so high-stakes all of a sudden. He may have a good reason that will help you decide – but more often than not he will have to back down after conceding that there really isn’t a good reason.
You use this tactic to slow down the pace of the exchanges, or to challenge a variable, proposal or procedure. The key to making this work is to be non-threatening.
If they say, “final offer” or “this price is only good until 5 PM”, you can use this simple technique to redirect or gently refute an assumption. Ask for an explanation of an assumption that underpins their position.
Use Why? as a gateway to information-gathering techniques we have already discussed.