Summary: Promising something favorable in the future in return for concessions now.
One counterpart in a negotiation may promise the other counterpart, “If you can meet my demands, I will reward you at a later date.”
I once negotiated with an experienced printing buyer. When I was reviewing the job he wanted me to give him a quote on, he made a point of telling me how much printing he was going to be purchasing down the road. Naturally, when I quoted the job, I gave him a very low price because I wanted his future business. When I called the buyer back with the quote, he said that he really wanted to use me but my price was higher than he had expected. He offered, “If you can reduce the price another $500 on this job, I will give you all my future work.” In effect, he was promising that I would get my Reward in Heaven.
Unfortunately, most people fall for this tactic. My experience has taught me that the promised reward rarely comes through.
One possible response is to simply fight fire with fire. Using the tactic of the Trade-Off Concession, I might have said, “I am not able to discount this job, but if you give me this job and then have another one for me in the next thirty days, I will discount the second job.” A second effective counter would have been citing Standard Practice or Policy: “It is not my company’s policy to discount first-time jobs or allow me to discount a job on the promise of future business.”
Experienced negotiators have been burned by this technique too often. Please spare yourself the frustration of not getting the reward!
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?