“This Is How To Win Comparisons In The Negotiation” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“The value of what you compare lies in the value of what you’re comparing.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“This Is How To Win Comparisons In The Negotiation”

People don’t realize; they’re always negotiating.

When people evaluate situations, they may not realize it, but they’re making comparisons. About that, you should raise your level of consciousness; because it’s a truism. In some instances, people compare a present situation to the ones that appear related to prior cases. At other times, they compare the current condition to the possibility of future outcomes. And that’s especially true during a negotiation. Regardless of the timeframe, when making comparisons, you’re evaluating the course of action to take. Thus, in your negotiation and other aspects of your life, when making comparisons, be aware of the impact that the following factors have on the outcome.  


An intricate part of good communications in a negotiation, and other interactions, is the ability to listen well. To understand someone’s perspective, first, you must listen to what they say about the situation that’s before them. That’ll give you a mental picture of that person’s perception, and the opinion they have about it. That’ll also be the insight source that determines which comparisons to draw from later in the conversation.

If you’re astute, you’ll listen to the words they use to express themselves, the degree of excitement they share while doing so, and the pace at which they speak – word choice gives vision to someone’s thoughts. Thus, by being attentive to their word choices, you’ll gain a more profound sense of their emotional mind. And that’s the reason why you should listen for a deeper meaning than just the conveyance of their words. To do that, you must give that person the time and space they need to let their feelings be known, heard, and shared.


While you’re actively listening, note the comparisons someone makes while they’re speaking. In particular, observe the points about the tensions or apprehensions they’ve encountered. That’ll give you more clues about the pain they’ve experienced. Later, you’ll be able to employ that information as anchoring points of negativity or positivity during the negotiation.

Most people are moved to action by fear of loss, versus gaining something they don’t currently possess. Thus, if you hear someone speak about protecting what they have, catalog it for later use. At the appropriate time, make a comparison to a situation in which they lose something they have. Then, create a worse condition scenario than the first one. After that, offer your solution as the savior of their woes. By initially making comparisons to a bad situation and one that’s worse, your best-case offering will appear more pleasing, and more likely to be accepted.


Anchoring occurs when you set someone’s initial point of perspective. Thus, if someone said your price was too high, you might ask, compared to what? In their response would be the answer to what they were comparing your price. And there’d be gold in their reply. Because they will have given you their anchoring point about why they thought your price was high.

At that point, you’ll have a momentary advantage in the negotiation. That advantage will be in the form of thoughts, ideas, and positions from which to find a medium point. You might consider evoking some of the points you gathered while listening to the tensions and apprehensions that individual had in the past. Or, if warranted, you might instead employ something from the positive aspects of which they spoke.  

The point is, you should seek to anchor that person’s perspective to the point that will best serve your purpose. In theory, that would be a position that was best for both of you. That would allow the perception of your point to become embraced as being more solvable to the challenge at hand. And that would mean your anchoring point would become accepted as an influencer to the proceeding that follows from there. Anchoring is a powerful tool when it comes to influencing someone’s views. Use it adroitly, and you’ll enhance your negotiation efforts.   


The stories you tell are another factor that’ll serve as your ally when making comparisons in a negotiation. A well-told story injected into the conversation at the right time, can instantly alter someone’s position and the perspective they have about a situation. To tell a good story, consider the following components.

1. When telling a person how he can acquire a goal that you see as obtainable, the story should have easily recognized components that the person perceives as being real, and not too difficult to achieve. Allow him to see himself bursting with new pride in the imagery of his new acquisition.

2. Paint the mental picture you project with details you gleaned during the listening part of your interaction. Thus, if the person spoke about a dire time when he missed the chance to improve or maintain a situation, due to moving slowly, you might paint the image of someone being overly deliberate and missing an opportunity. Let him draw his conclusion between that situation and the position that he’s currently in.    

3. The timing and pace you tell a story will determine its impact. Therefore, to enhance the effect, recite your story’s depiction at a pace that’s easy to follow and consume. While doing so, observe the body language displayed by the person listening to it. In particular, note when they close their eyes, turn or drop their head, or show a momentary frown, as you mention what they may lose if they don’t act fast enough. The body language gestures mentioned will indicate a fear of loss. Cues such as those will announce the impact your story is having on that individual.


First, realize that during your interactions with other people, you’re negotiating. And in a negotiation, you move someone’s perspective by the comparisons you make and the way you position those comparisons. Therefore, if you wish to win more negotiations when using comparisons, seek to evoke the level of emotions, positive or negative, in which you touch someone’s heart. Following these guidelines will allow you to do just that. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight” click here https://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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