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Greedy Deal

Ben Byth

Late last week, while busily preparing our response for an RFQ, I was met with a series of interruptions from my colleague - Michael. Amid growing frustrations that I would be staying later and later into the night to finish, I thought to myself… I’ve been on a negotiation course and know exactly what to do…I’ll put a price on Michael’s demands!

With Michael’s next demand I had a quick reply:

Demand             ‘Would you read this for me before I send it?’

Price                    ‘If you read mine, I will read yours.’

My price was quickly accepted and, within a minute or two, I had met my end of the agreement. Now it was Michael’s turn. I handed over 85 pages of government policy to digest. There was a look of astonishment followed by a long pause.

Michael felt ‘had’. It was true, I’d taken advantage of him.

There were two things I had forgotten in my excitement:

  1. Agree what was agreed. A simple ‘agree’ step to ensure we both knew what was involved would have quickly put this to bed. Once Michael knew what he was going to read, he quite likely would have declined and I could have got back to my RFQ.
  2. What makes a good deal. While not always true… more often than not it is important that everyone is happy with the deal, especially if you want them to execute it. Even if you are dealing with a goose and they agree to something they shouldn’t, how likely is it they will be pulled into line when they get back to the office? As it turned out, I did read Michael’s email and I’m still waiting for him to read my 85 pages.

In summary, understand the details of the deal and if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

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