How to Sell a Blank Canvas

In your daily life, negotiations happen all around you. If you buy something second-hand or cooperate in a team, there is always a game of give and take going on. But now widening the scale to, for instance, buying a house or getting a job. That requires a skill set that few people are taught. If we've convinced you of the importance of negotiation in your daily and professional life, then read on to find some tips on how to become a successful negotiator. Really take this advice to heart and you might be making millions off selling a blank canvas to your next prey.

1. Ask the right questions

Perhaps the most important tip is how to approach your negotiation enemy. And it is also a rather easy one: just ask open questions beginning with how or what. ‘Why’ could sometimes sound too hostile, as in “why didn’t you clean the kitchen”. A better option would be to say: “It seems like you’re not enjoying cleaning the kitchen? How do you make sure you’ll do it next time?”

Acknowledging the problem in a subtle way by using ‘it seems’ often creates enough empathy to let them talk about it. Even though you don’t have to agree on the opponents view, you give them enough space to clarify themselves and that makes them comfortable.

2. Begin with ‘no’

Think of a collector whose job is in essence negotiating. With a premade script, he forces you to say ‘yes’ to give money to a charity. However, there is one downside to this approach. Because the eventual concerns of the listener are not included. “Do you like animals? And do you think they have to live in good conditions? “ are for example questions they ask. And nearly everyone will say ‘yes’, but many will still have doubts about the credibility or the process behind it.

So once you got a “no”, you can ask what the doubts are and how to solve them. So just know as soon as possible what the bumps in the road are. That not only saves time but also gains empathy. At the same time, it prevents you from getting a fake yes.

3. Mirror your opponent

What I really liked doing was buying stuff second-hand via Marktplaats. Going to a stranger to get a beautiful table is a very satisfying activity for both of us. However, many of the users have some very unpleasant experiences with scammers. Starting with “it seems like you find safety very important” will often provoke many horrible stories about how they are betrayed. And that’s when mirroring comes in handy. By just copying their last (or most important) words, they feel that you’re listening. You can use that in any talk and it is surprising how effective it helps to keep the conversation going with you saying anything. And after the empathy level raised at his peak, it is time to bargain. 

4.Go to what is fair

After removing all the bumps and knowing what the counterpart prioritizes in a deal – for example safety in the last case – it is time to do business. Important tip: Don’t start by yourself with saying a price. Just ask what the value is does the job most of the times. Where beginning with ‘no’ is a good thing, rejecting an offer with ‘no’ isn’t preferable. A reject must be always be politely. “I really appreciate your offer, but I don’t think it will work.” Without dropping the empathy level too much, it is your time to make an offer.

Therefore, some psychological tools can help. Setting a range gives the feeling that there is some space to come to an agreement. Within that range, the bottom/highest price is your personal bare minimum/maximum. And for a single offer, use as many odd numbers as possible. Odd pricing is a psychological phenomenon which is also used at the supermarket. And it seems like there is a thought process behind it.

And after explaining the proposal, without losing the seller’s perspective as well, the final conclusion must be drawn: “I think this is fair.” After that point, sticking to that price and only negotiating about non-monetary things is key. Keep rejecting politely and that’s all you could have done.

 To conclude, this is not meant as a manual for selfish people on how to save money. It is just a better understanding of comprehending the counterpart. Because not money, but other factors decide if a deal is a success or not. So stick to these tips and hopefully every negotiation will end up in a win-win situation.

About this article

Written by:
  • Floris De Vries
| Published on: Feb 01, 2022