When I was younger, many menus in Chinese restaurants let you pick one item from column A or one item from column B. The more technical term for this is a Package Option. This technique for counter offers is to give your counterpart a choice, i.e. a two pronged counter offer. My buyer will give the seller a price of $210,000 with the playhouse, washer, dryer and refrigerator or $208,000 without those items. The benefit of this type of counter offer is that the counterpart frequently picks one, as they are so busy concentrating on the two choices that they do not concentrate on the fact that they can choose neither one and make another counter offer. Another benefit is that the counterpart does not feel like they are being pushed into a corner by being forced to take one option, as they have two (or more) options, and they have the last word.
Be aware that there is a frequent response to this type of offer. The counterpart will take the best of both choices. In the example, it is not unusual for the counterpart to come back saying they want the price of $208,000 with the sale including the playhouse, washer, dryer and refrigerator. So, if you are looking to close negotiations, give your counterpart a Package Option, but be sure you will be happy if they take the best of both choices. Either way, you will finish the negotiations, whether they accept one of the choices, or propose the best of both choices.
If you are dealing with a inexperienced or rigid real estate agent, this choice can confuse them. So, evaluate whether your counterpart is intelligent enough to handle the choices that this technique provides.
A related concept is giving people two choices when you want to get a any decision. When you are negotiating to set an appointment, instead of asking, “When do you want to look at homes to buy?” ask “Would tomorrow be good or Saturday be better?” They will frequently pick one of the two, instead of thinking that one of their other choices is to not set the appointment at all.
Tim has written a book to be published soon called Create a Great Deal that has nine techniques, and some people call them tricks. If you would like to reserve a copy of the book, click here. We discuss techniques as part of the Real Estate Negotiating Institute to learn every trick that might be seen in the market place. If you would like to join us, click here and join the discussion. I hope you can use this tool to close a negotiation and create a great deal.