Summary: Refusing to take no for an answer.
If you have children, especially teenagers, you know that sometimes you may give in to their demands just to be able to get on with your life. The same tactic works quite well in the business world.
I have a son who was the master at asking for something over and over again, from many different creative angles, until he accomplishes his goal. At one time, his major life goal was to own a video game console. He asked for one almost every day for a period of two years. His creative questions included, “Could I buy it with my own money?” And “Could I buy a handheld until I can get the console?” He also asked why other parents I respect bought their kids video games. The questions went on and on. I even told him, “Video games are a dead horse in our house, and if the horse is dead, you should get off it!” Refusing to give up, my son creatively asked the following great question: “Dad, is it important to you and Mom that I can make quick decisions in complex situations?” When I said, “Yes,” he came back with, “Great! I think video games help kids make quick decisions in complex situations.” After two years, he finally got his game console. As I relfect upon this, I understand why persistence is such a successful tactic.
In this particular example, my best defense would probably have been a solid track record of not caving in to persistence. A second effective tactic would have been No More Mr. Nice Guy—I could have removed a deal point that my son felt had already been conceded. For example, I could have said, “If you bring up video games one more time this week, I will take away your computer for the rest of the week.” Since spending time on the internet was as high on my son’s explicit need list as video games, this tactic might have worked well.
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?