BNI Education Slots

How to negotiate like a child

So, this is how children negotiate. While I was researching some examples of this to back up what I was told in a training course, I actually found something about Donald Trump. He uses this negotiation technique, so that should give you some indication that, if it’s children negotiating, it would fit right in with his style.

If there are any parents of teenagers in the room, you may recognize this. If you’ve got a 17 or 18 year old child and they want to go to a party, they’re not going to come to you and say, “Mum (or dad, depending on your gender), I want to go to a party this weekend at friend’s house. It’s going to be until 1:00a.m, and I want to borrow the car” – you’re probably going to say no.

They will come to you and say, “Mum (or dad depending on your gender), is it okay if I go to a friend’s house this weekend for a party?” Yeah, I suppose that’s alright. And then a bit later, or maybe the next day, “That party at the weekend, it’s probably gonna be a late finish, is it okay if I stay until 1 o’clock?” Yeah, probably okay. And then they might come to you again and say, “This party I’m going to on the weekend, it’s probably going to cost a bit for a taxi, is it okay if I take the car?”

Yeah, okay. The result is the same; they’ve asked for the same thing but they’ve asked for it in little bits. It’s called nibbling, which is something that children do without even thinking. Now, as I was being told this, I thought ‘that’s not true, it doesn’t doesn’t work, surely.’

Then I was in Toys R Us with my three kids. Now, my two boys, I have to drag around Toys R Us. They absolutely hate it, for some reason. My daughter loves it, she’s my one hope for a geek child. As we were going through Toys R Us, she picked up one of these vinyl pop figures. They’re about 9/10 quid, I think it was a Star Wars one, little bobble head type thing. She didn’t say please or give the doll eyes, I don’t think, she just picked it up and went:

“Dad, can I have that?” I thought well, I’m in here to buy stuff for myself anyway because I’m being a bit selfish, so okay. “Yeah, alright, you can have that, fine.” I probably have to get something for the other two as well, even though they’re not interested, but fine. As we got around the corner, she then picked up a Marvel weapons set, which is about 16/17 quid. It had four or five weapons in it, so there was maybe Thor’s hammer and Iron Man’s glove, that kind of thing, and she went: “Dad, can I have that instead? It’s only seven quid more”

I know what you’re doing – you’re nibbling at this. If I say yes to this, you’re then going to go, “well, can I have both actually, because then it’s only another £10, isn’t it?” If I’d have said yes to that, there would have been something else and I’d have been walking out the shop, probably with some massive £500 toy that she’d managed to escalate me to. So I said no, you can only have the first thing you picked up, nothing else. I was very strong, and very proud of myself. But I was also very proud of her for using this negotiation technique which I’d be taught about a year before and didn’t think it was real.

So, what I’d like you to do this week is listen out for this nibbling technique and spot if someone is doing it to you. It could be somebody who is a potential customer or a client, or it could be one of your own kids. It’s also worth you trying it yourself, particularly when negotiating with suppliers, so when you agree with something that you’re going to get, just ask for a little bit more for the same price, because they’ve already agreed. Then a little bit more. Has anybody had it happened to them? Was anybody aware it was happening? Now, you know to stop him stop him dead. Explain to him what he’s doing, and that he’s not going to get away with it anymore. That is what Donald Trump does, apparently. On that one, I will end this. Thank you

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