Negotiation Tactic #15 – Trade-Off Concession

Summary: Getting something in return for everything that is given up.

A good rule to remember in negotiation is to get something in return every time you give up something.


A home buyer states, “I will buy your house for $480,000, but for that price, you will have to throw in your washer and dryer.” The seller responds, “If I do that, you will have to close escrow in thirty days,” or, “You will have to pay $482,000.”

If the seller does not get a trade-off every time she makes a concession, her counterpart will most likely ask for more concessions. Then, if the seller suddenly says, “Wait a moment. I already gave you the washer and dryer, and now you are asking for more concessions,” the buyer can respond, “Why are you bringing up the washer and dryer? We already agreed to that.”


The buyer might respond to the seller’s counteroffer with another deal point. He could say, “If you throw in the washer and dryer, I will close escrow in thirty days, but you will have to carry back a $20,000 second trust deed for one year.”

When using the Trade-Off Concession, the following are good rules to keep in mind: If you can, encourage your counterpart to concede first

  • Exchange concessions for deal points that have less value to you, but greater value to your counterpart
  • Concede in small increments
  • Consider phrases like, “I’ll consider it,” and, “Let me think about that.” Just say “no” if the concession is not in your best interests
  • Do not concede anything without getting something in return. Your counterpart will have more appreciation for the final outcome and more respect for you

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

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