Your negotiation journey - part nine: Ackerman bargaining

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

Constantin Papadopoulos is a freelance B2B marketing & sales consultant.

The following nine techniques/skills will improve the outcome of your negotiations. While these techniques are simple and effective, your negotiation success will come from applying them regularly. The best part of these techniques is that you can use them in your daily life. So let's review the ninth and last technique.

Ackerman bargaining

According to Chris Voss: Negotiation still comes down to determining who gets which slice of the pie, and from time to time you’re going to be forced into some real bare-knuckle bargaining with a hard-ass haggler.

The Ackerman model is an offer-counteroffer method, at least on the surface. But it is a very effective system for beating the usual lack-luster dynamic, which has the predictable result of meeting in the middle. The systematized and easy-to-remember process has only four steps:

1. Preparing the numbers
  • Set your target price (your goal).

  • Set your first offer at 65 percent of your target price.

  • Calculate three raises of decreasing increments (to 85, 95, and 100 percent).

2. Empathy

Use lots of empathy and different ways of saying “No” to get the other side to counter before you increase your offer.

3. Fix the number

When calculating the final amount, use precise, non-round numbers like, say $37,893 rather than $38’000. It gives the number credibility and weight.

4. Add a non-monetary item

On your final number, throw in a non-monetary item (that they probably don’t want) to show you’re at your limit.

The genius of this system is that it incorporates the psychological tactics reciprocity, extreme anchors, loss aversion without you needing to think about them.

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