How to Use ‘IF’ in Negotiation to Achieve Business Success


Use ‘if’ to increase your negotiation propositions

Have you ever considered how strong the word ‘If’ is, in a negotiation? ‘The If’ is a conditional statement that requires action to receive the offer contained in the preposition.

As an example, if you pay attention to the information that follows, you‘ll increase your negotiation outcomes. If you don’t heed the information, you‘ll miss the value contained in it.

Such is the value of using ‘If’ in your negotiations to position your proposition. If the other negotiator doesn’t adhere to the covenants of your offer, you’re not obligated to fulfil it.

Regardless of whether he pursues your conditioned offer or not, you get insight into the mindset he possesses and how he might manoeuvre in the negotiation based on the manner in which you position your proposition.

When you’re engaged in a negotiation, consider how you will position your proposition, by prefacing some conditions with the word ‘If’.

The following are ways in which you can use ‘If’ to enhance your negotiation outcomes.

Use ‘If’ as an offensive tactic

As an offensive tactic, ‘If’ is used as a way to test your offers, without obligating you to fulfil them.

If the ‘If’ proposition is not agreed to by the other negotiator, your obligation is abated (i.e. If I make an offer and you accept it, I’m obligated to fulfil the offer.

If on the other hand, you do not meet my offer, I’m not obligated to fulfil it.)

‘If’ can also be combined with ‘And’ to create a nested environment (one in which many ‘ifs’ may come into play as one offering (i.e if you agree to points one, two and three, I will respond favourably.)

At this point, you can also have a red herring included in your offering (one that doesn’t matter that much to you but carries weight in the mind of the other negotiator) in order to increase the perception of the offer.

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Use ‘If’ as a defensive tactic

‘If’ can be used as a defensive tactic to meet ferret out a hidden position that the other negotiator does not wish to disclose.

It can also be used to test his position, to assess the visibility of the proposition and to ascertain the value it contains to him.

In doing so, you can glean insights into how long the other negotiator may stick with a position, or when he may figure the cost to do so is too great.

To implement the ‘If’ tactic fir this purpose, use it to couple weighted positions against his points.

For example, the other negotiator has indicated that his offer of N100, 000 for items one, two and three, is the most he can pay.

Your response in seeking which is of more value to him might be, “I need all three for #100,000”, to which you might respond by saying, “humour me”.

At that point, you’d reiterate your offer. Once he responds, you would have insight into the two items that contained the most value in his mind.

If you use ‘If’ as an offensive or defensive tactic, its use will allow you to test the offers and fend off propositions that would leave you in an untenable position.

When negotiating, never ignore the power that’s contained in the word ‘If’. By using it in your negotiations, you‘ll enhance the flow of the negotiation.

You‘ll also have more control in the negotiation… and everything will be right with world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.

Use ‘If To Negotiate Successfully

When you negotiate, do you use ‘if’ to make your offerings conditional? During negotiations, the word ‘if’ is used as a conditional phrase that serves as a prelude for that which follows.

It allows you to make an offer and not be committed to delivering the covenants of the offer, if the other negotiator doesn’t meet the condition(s) set forth by your ‘if’ inquiry.

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If you wish to negotiate successfully, you have to preface some offers and most counteroffers with the word, ‘if’.

The following are seven ways you can use ‘if’ to negotiate more successfully.

  1. You should use ‘if’ when you wish to extend a conditioner offer to the other negotiator (e.g, If I add this to the deal, will that be enough to meet your needs?) If the other negotiator says no, you’re not obligated to meet his needs with the offer extended to him.
  2. If’ can also be used as a traditional strategy (e.g. you bring up a good point and if we can agree on ‘point B’, then we can address point A’.
  3. You can use ‘if’ as a ‘block and bridge’ strategy (e.g. If ‘point A’ is true (block), then it reasons that ‘point B’ has validity (bridge)).In this case, you would then begin to discuss ‘point B’, which should be more advantageous to your position.
  4. Use ‘if’ as a harbinger of things to come. Depending on the point you wish to stress and the position you’ve adopted, ‘if’ can be used as a subliminal precursor (e.g. If we adopt your position, do you really think it’s going to be beneficial?).
  5. If can be used as an image enhancer or image detractor (e.g. If we consummate the proposed deal, you’ll save a few hundred thousand dollars and become a hero in your organization.)
  6. Use ‘if’ with ‘but’. ‘But’ is a delimiter that negates what comes before it. (e.g. Your point is good, but if we adopt the second point, the outcome will be more favourable.)
  7. ‘Ifs’ can be used in a ‘nested’ manner, when you wish to connect several points together, while not committing to the outcome unless the other negotiator agrees to all of the conditions (e.g. If we adopt ‘point A’ and if we adopt ‘point B’ or ‘point C’, I think we can conclude this deal successfully.)
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To use ‘if’ successfully, do so with precision and incisiveness. Remember, ‘if’ can be used to ‘heat’ up, or ‘cool’ down a negotiation.

Be perceptive to the psychological ‘temperature’ of the negotiation and adjust your mental thermostat and that of the other negotiator appropriately.

Do so based on the direction you’d like your ‘if’ query to take you… and everything will be right with the world.

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