today's market price for "no thanks": $1,690

Incoming email today at 9:03 a.m.

Dear Past Advertiser-

I am pleased to announce the 2011 edition of Your Favorite Bar Annual will hit the newsstand in December. As a former advertiser you are entitled to an early-bird special. Contact me by October 15 to receive last year's prices.

My response at 9:31 a.m.

early bird is $3780 for the smallest display ad?  how about a special rate for mediators who are, in general, far less affluent than first and second year attorneys?  or . . . how about a trade of platforms . . . I can give you a lot of social media exposure for a break in price!

Their response at 9:49 a.m.

it would be $3690

My response at 1:28 p.m.

ok; thanks; going to have to skip it this year; all best with the issue!

Their response at 1:30 p.m. (2 minutes later)

what if I said you could have the ad for $2,000?

As signs at the Exploratorium exhibits instruct:  to notice and to do:

To Notice:

  1. I recognized the "early bird" advertising special as an opportunity to negotiate, not as a take it or leave it offer (as, I must admit, I did last year);
  2. Though I made no counter-offer, I did ask whether my bargaining partner might be prepared to offer concessions, first using ingratiation (trading power for sympathy) ("how about a break for the poor mediator?") and then suggesting barter ("I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine").
  3. I was willing to walk away, but did so pleasantly.  This could have been a negotiating ploy but I frankly assumed there would be no counter and was willing to forgo this year's ad.
  4. The magazine did not offer to drop it's price, but suggested a hypothetical of its own ~ "what if I said you could have the ad for $2,000?"  Because only two minutes elapsed between my "no thanks" and a $1690 drop in the price, the magazine representative was obviously pre-authorized to make deals.

To do:

  1. Assume any opening offer is exactly that ~ an opening offer ~ not a statement of a non-negotiable retail price;
  2. Make a counter or ask whether counters are acceptable;
  3. Give good reasons for your counter proposals and let your potential bargaining partner know you're open to more than a single way of satisfying their interests;
  4. Walk away if your bargaining partner refuses to budge (there are other fish in the sea).