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Negotiation Tip: Putting The For-Sale Price On Your “Horse”

January 31, 2011

Have you ever tried to buy anything that didn’t have a price clearly marked on the item?

Why not?

Answer:  Because you didn’t wish to waste your valuable time trying to purchase something that the owner either couldn’t or wouldn’t clearly price.  The primary purpose of pricing is to allow you to first determine whether you have any interest at all at the price/value placed upon any item  by the seller.

Failing to timely and clearly announce your initial evaluation of what you are seeking for your position, your “price” (often referred to as a “demand”), well in advance of mediation, can almost guarantee that your mediation will either be unsuccessful or at least far more lengthy than necessary. 

Your opposition deserves to have a reasonable time in which to consider your initial price.  In so many ways, your initial demand will totally control how your opposition responds to you for the entire mediation.

Timely, means within a generous time-frame that reasonably allows your opposition to examine your evaluation and to make educated inquiries upon the probabilities that your price falls within an acceptable range for similar matters.  Of course, it will/must be more than you might be willing to accept (or otherwise there wouldn’t be anything to negotiate), but it must also be within a range that some would find it possible to accept.

But, even when timely, if your initial price/demand, is perceived by your opposition, reasonably, to have no basis within the probabilities of your facts and law, the same failure or loss of valuable time is practically assured.

Of the two, always be timely.  Anyone may differ in their valuations of the same fact and law.  But few will even want to try to bid for a totally unpriced  item.    And pricing the position for the first time at the beginning of mediation is practically like not pricing the position at all.  At least for that mediation.

Parties must always also accept that the opposition is just as knowledgeable and just as diligent in their appraisal of a claim as is the Claimant.  Accordingly, pricing or demanding an initial value for your position or claim that is clearly out of the norm will do nothing but raise an issue as to your knowledge, if not your lack of reasonableness.  Not a good way to start any intelligent negotiation.

By the way, this same caveat applies to the opposition’s initial position in response to the initial pricing.  The initial response or offer by the opposition upon the initial pricing/will be perceived in the same light: unreasonable responses reflect unreasonable negotiators.  A fairly initially priced position, approached with an unrealistic opening offer, deservedly, will almost guarantee the same lack of success or prolongation of negotiation.

Good attorneys and/or their clients understand this maxim of how to maximize any opportunity of negotiation:  fair and timely initial positions, reasoned exchanges based upon fact and law and  realistic final goals.

But it always must begin with the Plaintiff who must fairly and timely put a for-sale price on his horse/position that makes the opposition/buyer want to even try to respond.  Or, be prepared for a much longer mediation or even failure at that conference.

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