Summary: Asking a counterpart what he would do if the position were reversed.
If your counterpart asks for something that is totally unreasonable or does not make good business sense to you, a great question to ask is, “How would you justify agreeing to such a position If You Were in My Shoes?”
Two companies were in serious talks regarding a merger. Company A wanted Company B to agree to the following deal point: If the news of the merger became public and another merger bid was generated from a third company, B would pay A $1 million if the original merger failed to happen. When the president of A proposed this deal point, the president of B asked this great question: “If You Were in My Shoes, how would you justify agreeing to that position?” What usually happens when this tactic is used is that the counterpart who is the target of the tactic has to pause and think how he would justify his position. In the example above, if the president of A paused for a long time or avoided the question altogether, the president of B could have pointed out, “I’m having the same challenge figuring out how this deal works for me.”
The most effective counter for the president of Company A would have been to present Facts and Statistics that supported his position to explain how that position could be justified.
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?