Why You Shouldn’t Argue In A Negotiation

When you negotiate, you might think it’s a good idea to argue why you think your offer is fair. While in reality you may be right, you also may be hurting your chances. Here’s why.

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Art Markman, writing for Psychology Today, points to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that studied the role of persuasive arguments in negotiations:

if you are interested in buying a house, the seller might ask for $US350,000, arguing that the house was newly renovated and is near good schools. [The study]argued that when people hear an argument in favour of the initial offer, they think of counter-arguments. These counterarguments may actually push the counteroffer further away from the initial offer than it would have been had there been no persuasive argument. Someone looking at a house might find all the areas that still need renovation and think about other houses even closer to the better schools in town and give a low offer on the house.

The study also found that the initial offer was important because it served as an anchor for the duration of the negotiation. You want to be the person to make that initial offer, but the important thing to remember is to resist the desire to justify your decision. If you simply let the other person consider your price, their thoughts won’t be flooded with counter-arguments and you’ll be more likely to settle on a fair price.

Psychology Today

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