Negotiation Tactic #76 – Never Saying “Yes” to the First Offer

Summary: Avoiding immediate agreement to a counterpart’s offer to prevent the impression that the negotiation was too easy.

Have you ever felt that you paid too much for something? Chances are you felt that way because you didn’t have to fight hard enough for your outcome. When someone says “yes” to your first offer, you walk away with one of two feelings: You may think you paid too much or, as if that feeling were not enough to make you have buyer’s remorse, you may think something is wrong with what you just bought.


A woman is buying a used couch at a garage sale. She challenges the seller with, “You’re asking $300 for this couch. Would you consider taking $200?” The seller responds, “Sure, $200. It’s a deal!”


First, this is the time to use the tactic of The False Alarm . The buyer could say she was just asking if $200 would be acceptable, but she thinks that is still too much to pay. Then she could raise her level of aspiration. Second, she could use the Higher Authority tactic, telling the seller that $200 sounds reasonable to her, but she needs her husband to come over and take a look at the couch.

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

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