The nature of Project Management is give and take all the time. While “selling” is not typically part of a project manager’s job description, the following principles can also be applied toward negotiating time or resources necessary to complete the project.
People may use three types of tactics to make you concede your pricing. They may start with “Give me a ballpark price;” “You have to do better than that;” and “Let’s Split the Difference.” Each of these is difficult to handle, and when combined throughout a discussion of price, they can create a “triple-whammy.”
Let’s take a look at how to manage each of these monetary price concessions.
Give Me a Ballpark Price
There are two ways to manage this tactic. First you should resist the urge to provide a ballpark price. Rather than giving a figure off of the top of your head, tell the other side that you would much prefer to be able to think about the issue more so that you can make a more realistic assessment. If taking this approach is not possible, then make sure to lowball your ballpark to prevent getting locked into a bad deal before the discussion even starts.
You Have to do Better Than That
Defend against this tactic by asking the other side, “How much better do I have to do?” Asking this will force the other side to at least put a stake in the ground before you bid against yourself with no commitment from the other side.
Split the Difference
If the other side offers to split the difference, try to anchor them to the “split the difference price” and then continue to discuss. Imagine you are offering $1,000 and the other side is asking for $2,000 and they suggest that you “split the difference.” Try the following: “I do not think that I can do $1,500, but I appreciate that you are willing to compromise. Now that I’m at $1,000 and you can agree to $1,500, I think that we are closer to reaching an agreement.” If you can then continue the discussion and then offer to “be fair” and split the difference, you now may be able to end up at $1,250.
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