Negotiation Nibbling: The Oldest Negotiation Trick In The World

The most common tactic used on salespeople in negotiation is called “nibbling”. The same way a mouse might nibble at a piece of cheese with small bites until it’s completely gone, 'nibbling' is asking for small items, one at a time, and getting agreement on each until you’ve gotten a lot. No matter what you sell, or who you sell to – it’s in your world. ?? Because each request is small, it’s very easy for you to give in.

When you do, they’re appreciative and thankful. Nibbling can be particularly effective near the end of the negotiation, when a salesperson is eager to reach a final agreement, and at the beginning when it can set the tone not only for the negotiation – but the relationship as well. It might sound like this: "Oh, there is just one more thing – would it be possible..." This does come with this attachment, doesn’t it? This system is just what I’ve been looking for.

The reworking is included, of course? Good nibblers know that if they ask for a large commitment, the chances of getting a “no” are great, so they’re very adapt at breaking requests down into bite-size chunks, or nibbles. Each one seems small, and makes it seem as if you’re not giving away much. But, when you back away and look at the big picture, you often realize you’ve given away a large amount – more than you ever would have agreed to if it had been asked for all at once.

Your customers/clients may be nibbling for discounts, free samples, better terms, free shipping, freebies, sponsoring trade shows, exceptions to procedures, altered timelines, or free training. This isn’t just in business. If you’re a parent, (by the way, kids are the master nibblers of the universe) you’re nibbled, depending on the age, for cookies and sweets, staying up later, skipping a meal and going straight to desert, toys, special cereal, borrowing the car, new computers, boys or girls coming over, trips to the mall, new jeans, sneakers, cell phones with video capabilities - this list is truly endless.

The most common response worldwide to a nibble is “the Cave-in”. We usually give in and accept the request, either because we want to be team players, and nice guys, or because we are trying to “improve the relationship”. In future articles we’ll show you why that may be your worst response, and what to do instead to solve the problem.

I have an assignment for you. During the next few weeks, just notice what you’re nibbled for and who the nibblers are. I’ll make two predictions: you’re going to be nibbled far more than you thought, and the majority of the nibbles are coming from the same people.

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