Negotiation is an art that requires planning, skill, and strategy. With so much at stake, many people are desperate to simply reach an agreement and finalize the deal. However, power negotiators know that despite your eagerness to reach a conclusion, you should never say “yes” to the first offer. Why? People expect you to counter and when you don’t, it leaves everyone feeling a bit uneasy about the deal. You don’t want your counterpart leaving the negotiation with negative thoughts, so it’s always best to give them what they want: a counteroffer. Passing on the first offer might feel like a risk, but let’s consider the reasons why accepting the first offer isn’t the best move.
It Damages the Confidence of the Other Party
When you sit down to negotiate a deal, it is expected that the negotiation process will be a give and take. Therefore, if you accept the first offer right away, it can trigger negative thoughts in the other person’s mind. While you might expect your counterpart to be ecstatic that you accepted their offer, it actually leaves them scratching their head. They immediately think to themselves, “I could have done better.” It actually has nothing to do with the final price, but rather the way the other person reacts to the proposal. For example, imagine you are interested in purchasing a car that is for sale for $10,000. You decide to make a lower offer of $8000 and to your surprise, the seller agrees right away. Rather than walking away feeling like you got a great deal, you are left thinking to yourself, “That was too easy. Something must be wrong with it.” Immediately, you have lost confidence in the seller and you are second-guessing the deal.
It Raises Doubt
Consider the same situation with buying the car. If the seller is asking $10k for the car and you immediately agree to pay it, the seller might think to themselves, “I should have asked more for the car.” Rather than being excited about the deal, they are left feeling a little disappointed that they didn’t price the car higher. This same principle applies to a number of negotiations. For example, if you are negotiating a higher salary and your boss immediately accepts your first offer, it will cause you to doubt your offer. Instead of walking out excited about your raise, you are left wondering why you didn’t ask for more. In terms of business deals, accepting the first offer raises doubts in the minds of the other party and might encourage them to raise their prices or increase their demands for the next negotiation.
It Cause You to Lose Credibility
If you walk into an important business negotiation and you immediately accept the first offer that is put on the table, it leaves the other party questioning your credibility. Not only do they assume you are an inexperienced negotiator, but they might also question your abilities as a professional. It does not look favorable when you say “yes” right away rather than negotiate a better deal.