Have your eye on that ’96 Skylark, but want to spend only X number of dollars on it? Making just a slight adjustment in the way you phrase the negotiation can be the difference between driving it away with grocery money still in your pocket and eating ramen noodles till your next paycheck, German researchers say.
The trick: Make your offer—and the fact that the seller will benefit from it—the focal point of your wording, not your own interest in the car. So instead of saying, “I’ll take the Skylark for $1,500,” say, “I’ll give you $1,500 for your Skylark.”
The same goes if you’re the seller. Saying, “I’ll give you my car for 9,000 bucks” (which draws the buyer’s attention to the car he’ll get—aka what he’ll gain), will get you a better deal than “Give me $9,000 for the car” (which emphasizes what he’s losing).
The tactic can work in myriad situations: “You’ve got a deal if we can agree to 85 grand for the house,” not “Drop the price to 85 grand and you’ve got a deal.” Or “This $50 is yours if you don’t tell my wife,” not “Don’t tell my wife and this $50 is yours.”
Well, you get the drift.