In his New York Times business blog, Paul Downs tells about concluding a deal with a foreign client. This excerpt caught my eye:
“I finally figured out that the only way to stop them from asking for more was to flat out refuse any more concessions, with vigor. Head up, eyes blazing, arms waving, high volume: “No more!” Otherwise they keep coming. But it got them a very good deal in the end.”
Paul’s counterpart here is a classic “nibbler.” A nibbler will ask for or demand additional concessions even after the deal appears done. How should you respond? Don’t give in. If you do, a nibbler will keep nibbling.
Avoid this situation by asking several times during the negotiation if all the issues are on the table. Make a written note of it when your counterpart says yes (and consider confirming this in writing with them too). Also find out if your counterpart has a reputation as a nibbler. If they do, plan for it and hold some items back to trade in the end.
Finally, if your counterpart wants another concession from you at the end, require one in return – preferably of greater value. Nibble back!