Making Concessions

Influencers hate making concessions.  But not only is it sometimes necessary, it can be a good way to get what you want.

How can concessions get you what you want?

When I offer you a concession, you will feel I have given you something and consequently, the “fairness circuits” in your brain will cry out for you to give me something in return.  I ask you for a £1 a mile donation to charity for my Marathon run next month and that seems a lot.  “I’ll tell you what,” I say, “why not make it £10 if I finish?” By spontaneously reducing my request, I trigger your desire to offer something in return.  You may not say yes to the tenner, but I bet you’ll offer something.

Don’t go overboard with the concessions

In negotiation, both parties may make several concessions as the negotiation progresses.  The danger is that you make too many.  Here are three rules to protect you when called upon to make a concession.

  1. When asked for a concession, always make your first response a defence
    If you give in too easily, you will de-value the concession and they will want another straight away
  2. Only make a concession if you get something in return
    Before you commit to your concession, say something like “I can make a concession, but let’s see what you can do in return.” This is a great opportunity to look for something of high value to you, but low value to them. The act of asking for something in return signals that your concession has real value.
  3. If you must make concessions, make them small and of decreasing value
    What do you need to concede to get agreement? Then halve it! You are likely to be called upon to make more concessions, so if your first is too big then the cumulative value may take you below the level where a deal is worthwhile to you.
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About Mike Clayton

Mike is an author and speaker, specialising in personal effectiveness, project management and the management of change. When we try to make change work for us, things don't always go as planned: Shift happens! Over the years, Mike has developed personal and professional strategies to anticipate and deal with shift. You can contact Mike at mike@mikeclayton.co.uk
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