Negotiation Tactic #72 – Low- or Highballing

Summary: Making a ridiculously low or high offer.


You’re trying to sell your house for $289,000 when your agent brings you an offer of $260,000 from a couple who saw the house over the weekend. If your house is competitively priced, this would be considered a lowball offer.


Lowballing is effective because it tends to lower a counterpart’s aspirations. If you counter the couple’s offer with $180,000, their next offer of $275,000 won’t seem so bad. If they had originally offered you $275,000, you would probably have countered higher than $280,000.


If someone lowballs you, you have three options: (1) Do not counter! Utilize These Boots Are Made for Walking and move on. (2) Counter by repeating your asking price. (3) Using the tactic of the Withdrawn Offer, counter with a figure higher than your asking price. Explain that the couple must have misunderstood the actual price, and then counter their ridiculous offer with an even more ridiculous price.

If someone highballs you, you also have three options: (1) Do your homework to find out whether the price is competitive. (2) Use the Power of Competition. Demonstrate with a competitive analysis that the price is unreasonably high. (3) Ask for a price breakdown.

Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?

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