Battle Scars and the Negotiator

Published: Jul 27 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

There is no doubt that much of what we learn is from experience. In fact the university of life, with all of its hard knocks, creates valuable lessons. The key is do we adjust our behaviour on the back of what is thrown at us.

This week I have been running a couple of training courses in Bangkok. My first trip to the area, and I heartily recommend it. Great food, wonderful weather (at least the rain here is warm) and the people are friendly and generous hosts.

For the westerner in this part of the world another attraction is the markets.

The Sunday market in Bangkok is probably the largest and most vibrant market I have ever come across. With a long list of items requested from friends and family I duly made the trip on the Sky Train to Chatuchak. Its sheer size and diverse collections of merchandise will bring even the seasoned shoppers to their knees - this is where you can literally shop 'till you drop'.

Searching for a pair of sunglasses for myself, having ticked most of the other boxes, I was drawn to a fetching pair and asked the stall owner for the price.

"800 Baht", came the reply. Around £23 in sterling.

Knowing the tradition in the area, I recognised the aim high tactic of the professional haggler and made my offer of 200 Baht, expecting the dance to begin.

To my surprise the stallholder said fine and held out his hand for the crisp 200 note.

There are occasions in negotiation when the proposal that is offered to you is entirely acceptable, as clearly was the case here. Before you reach across to snatch the deal, stop. If you accept too readily, two things are apparent. The first is that you make the other side feel foolish and psychologically scar them. In a long term relationship that may bite you back. The second is you miss the chance of a better deal.

Adding even a small turn on the deal will make the other side feel better and give you a little more value.

As it is, cool as I may look (not that cool since you ask) I still feel that I have overpaid - even though it was my offer.

I did get the cleaning cloth and case thrown in for the price, mind you!

Alan Smith
Partner
Scotwork UK LLP


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About the author:

Alan Smith
My background is marketing and advertising. After graduating in Economics I entered the agency world to become, at 28, MD of London's largest independent below-the-line marketing provider.

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