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Reaching agreement

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  1. Current talks and disagreements

Let's just go through the terms.

Let's summarize the conditions.


IV. Now you have the opportunity to negotiate. You speak in turn until an agreement is reached. Refers back to exercise III, if you don’t know the answer.

Supplier: You: Supplier: You: Supplier: You: Supplier: You: Supplier: You: Supplier: You: Supplier: You: Supplier: Well, let's get started. You know, with this delivery problem I'm sure here's room for negotiation. (1: cautious) Right, well this is how we see it. We can deliver the first machine in ten weeks, and install it four weeks after that. (3: long delivery period) Well, these are in fact the usual periods. It's pretty normal in this kind of operation. Did you expect we could deliver any quicker? (2: 6 weeks maximum delivery; 4 weeks installation) I see what you mean, but that would be very difficult. (4: too late) Ah-ha! Well, look ... er ... You want the machine in six weeks. Now that is really a very short deadline in this business. You said that you could not take it any later, but couldn't your engineers find a way to re-schedule just a little, say another week? (5: refuse) Well, you really are asking us for something that is very difficult. I've already offered you seven weeks. I'll have to consult with my colleagues and come back to you, but I can't see what we can do. (6: if deliver in 6 weeks perhaps talk about further order) Well, on that basis I suppose we might be able to look at some kind of arrangement. In fact, if you can promise another order I think we could accept your terms. (7: 6 weeks delivery; 4 weeks installation; decision on next order by 26th of this month) Exactly. If you could confirm this in writing I ...

V. Complete the questionnaire to find out if you are a good negotiator?

1. You have decided to upgrade your computer system and have been quoted a price-list of $4,000 by a supplier. How much discount will you try to get?

a) none?

b) 15%?

c) 35% or more?


2. A publisher has agreed to publish your book 'How to be a Better Manager'. You have asked for 75,000 euros on signature of the contract and another 75,000 euros when you submit the manuscript. They are only prepared to offer you 50,000 on signature and 75,000 on completion of the manuscript. What do you do?

a) accept their offer?

b) offer an alternative proposal?

c) threaten to go to a rival publisher?

3. You are in Belize and want to buy some Mayan pottery to give to friends on your return. You see some vases you would like to buy. The ones you want are priced at $20 each. You want four. What do you say?

a) Here's $80 then.

b) I'd like four pots but I need a good discount.

c) I'll give you $50 for four pots.

4. You are in a store buying an oven. One you have chosen is £600. You ask the salesman for a discount but he tells you it is not the store's policy as their prices are already lower than anywhere else. Do you:

a) accept what he says as probably true?

b) insist on a discount or free credit for one year?

c) complain to the manager about his attitude?

5. An overseas firm owes you $150,000. The Finance Manager explains that the company is having cash flow problems and needs more time to pay. Do you:

a) extend the credit period by another three months?

b) ask for part payment on condition that they make another order?

c) threaten to take them to court?


Now look at the answers to see how you got on.

Mostly a’s

You are not making much of an effort, are you? If you don’t at least try to negotiate, you’ll get nowhere – the people you are dealing with aren’t going to give anything away if they don’t have to.

Mostly b’s

You are not aggressive and you don’t make ridiculous demands, so you can consider yourself an extremely good negotiator. Remember always to be flexible and to keep an eye open for every possible opportunity.

Mostly c’s.

Do you like being punched on the nose? You had better calm down and start being realistic now or you might as well give up. You’ll only succeed if you’re extremely lucky or in the unlikely event that people you deal with are easily intimidated.

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