Offering beads to head-hunter chieftain is not likely to satisfy him. He wants a head for his collection. Offer your guide as a tribute to his excellency! 

The strategy behind making an offer is a complex process. Different offers are made to achieve different objectives. Tender your initial offers to establish the parameters of the negotiation; not expecting them to be accepted. But be ready to perform on the terms as your initial offer might be readily accepted, there may be other issues at play behind the scene making the offer viable to the other person.

Conversely, if you are tempted to accept an initial off, slow down. If you do, the offering party may become dissatisfied feeling they offered too much or asked too little. Even if the offer is acceptable, argue a bit to make sure the other person becomes committed to the transaction. This prevents cognitive dissonance from interjecting its ugly head and jeopardizing the agreement later. 

Carefully craft the terms of a proposition considering the other person’s base needs as well as your needs and needs. Try to address some of their needs giving them reason to continue to negotiate. Be less concerned with their ‘wants’ unless they press hard indicating they think they are actually ‘needs’. 

Considerations when making an offer: 

-Can you afford the terms if they are accepted? Do not offer more than you (or what you know you or your company will pay. 

-Will you be happy if the terms are accepted? The body has two ‘brains’; the one between your ears and the one in your stomach. If your ‘gut’ is telling you the offer is wrong, back away and think about the terms some more. Your intuition is often more accurate than your brain. Listen to it! 

-Will the offer offend the other person? Your goal is to structure a viable transaction. Understanding what is viable to the other person allows you to make an offer that advances the negotiation. It also enables you to avoid making an offer that curbs further discourse. 

-Do the terms leave you adequate room to negotiate a viable agreement? The basic terms of an agreement are only the beginning of the total negotiation. Make sure the terms are not so tight that you will not be able to make other, ancillary concessions and still proceed. 

-Is the offer likely to advance the discussions? Negotiating is an art form. Offers are steps in a dance. Design your offers to direct the decision making process toward a viable, global agreement.  

There is an art to tendering an offer. The ‘delivery’ can soften the impact of the actual terms offered. Anticipate the reaction to the terms and adjust your delivery to insure it is, if not accepted, considered and countered. Humor often takes the edge off an aggressive offer. While the meaning is the same, it will be less offensive than if delivered bluntly. If you have an aggressive offer, present it in person. This allows you to control the delivery and impact. It also allows you to observe the reaction and keep the discussion going. 

Do not tender an offer than will likely result in terminating the meeting or discussion unless that is your intent. Such an offer is tantamount to a bluff and runs the risk of being called. If called you need to be prepared to perform or walk away. 

In Seven Secrets to WINNING Without Losing a Friend, I discuss the importance of forging offers to advance your cause and not result in a breakdown of communications.

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