Quick Negotiation Tip: Final Offer

Happy Friday, dear readers! Today's quick negotiating tip comes, as always, from our own practice.

First things first: just like most people, we don't love to negotiate. We could certainly be better at it, and we are working on it. One thing we've learned recently that oftentimes it pays off to never stop negotiating, even if the other person says the famous words of: "This is my final offer." 

A few weeks ago, while negotiating an interpreting contract, the client, in a very friendly conversation, told us a number that she said was going to be her final offer. We've also learned not to say yes or no right away, but to ask the client if we can think about it, which has served us well as a negotiating tactic. We employed it this time, and the client said sure, that we could think about it for a day or two. Then we talked amongst ourselves: she said this was her final offer, right? Does that mean we do not have a choice but to accept it? We mulled this over a bit, and we came to the conclusion that of course we do not have an obligation to accept it. Everything is still negotiable until one party walks away, an outcome you (mostly) want to avoid (unless the terms don't work for you at all). So we decided to gamble (there is always some risk) and decided to counter one more time. We figured that our client could always reject our counteroffer, which would put us back at square one, but we decided we would cross that bridge in due time.

So we sent a friendly and upbeat email saying that we would love to work with them, and even though their offer wasn't the number we were looking for. We stated that we were willing to work with them and offered a more reasonable rate at X. We told them we looked forward to working with them, and lo and behold: they accepted and everyone is happy.

Lesson learned: a final offer is only a final offer if you accept it. It's usually worth negotiating to see what happens. A caveat: if you really need a particular project, this strategy might not worth be the risk. This is a classic risk/reward scenario, and it requires willingness to assume some risk. Happy negotiating! We would love to hear your negotiating tips if you are willing to share them with us and your colleagues.
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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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