FlashMBA.com: The Evolution of Professional Skills Training

Tactical Tuesday: After You (Wait at the Altar)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Jan 3, 2017 9:57:37 AM

AKA: Wait at the Altar

Negotiaitng tactic:  Waiting at the Altar. You gain something valuable -- but give up important options.You make / force your counter-party to make the first offer. The disadvantage is that he now has the opportunity to anchor  the discussion around his high value opening position. The advantage is that you now have his opening position on which to base your negotiation. You are getting information, but not without cost. Once he anchors the tendency is for you to accept his proposal as the benchmark. You are giving up power.

Intent: Gain information; force him to commit to a value range.

Strategic Planning for Negotiators:  Mind the Gap

Style: Varied. It seems Avoiding and Competitive, but often ends up being Accommodative. One you give him the power to market he first offer, you are playing defense (if you aren't careful).

Anchor.jpegCounter: Anchor by going first, or re-anchor with a new proposal. You can also take a break (or recess), but you run the risk or accepting some version of his offer. If you can’t get him to climb down from an aggressive opening offer, you may end up walking away and finding another counter-party.

Note:   Sometimes people will use this technique when they don’t know the market or are insecure about their opening valuation and erroneously conclude that the safest option is to force the other side to make the first offer.  This is a VERY expensive form of research.  If you don't know the range of values you are negotiating for, you are not ready to make a deal.  If I am trying to figure out a new market, I may use this technique -- but I always plan on pausing the negotiation before I make a final offer.  

One justification I often hear for using After You is that the counter-party may offer you a better deal than your most optimistic offer. While this has probably happened to someone, somewhere, it is not a good strategy to plan on stumbling across a foolish counter-party with valuable assets.


Final word: Whether you plan on going first (anchoring) or waiting for him to make the first offer, you still have to know what a WIN looks like.


Strategic Planning for Negotiators:  Mind the Gap

Strategic Planning for Negotiators:  Mind the Gap

Topics: anchor, Negotiation, Tactical Tuesday, Tactics, Wait at the Altar, negotiation plan

Written by Andrew Hupert

Got Tactics?

FlashMBA.com teaches international negotiation

Fine tune your international business game at FlashMBA -- negotiation, communication, and management skills for the global businessperson.

Subscribe to Email Updates


Professional skills training delivered in a fast, flash-card format.

Online classes, slideshows, videos and articles focusing on soft-skills.

  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving

Manage your skills training like you manage your career.

Subscribe to Email Updates

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit
Join the Managing Millennials Newletter

ChinaSolved: Business Solutions for International Negotiators

The International Negotiator: Apple in China (from FlashMBA.com)

Nothing stays off the table forever. Apple recently removed access to VPN services on its China App Store in compliance with government wishes. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are the chief method...Read more

3 Negotiating Takeaways from the NK Coal Boat Maneuver

Win-Win with Chinese Characteristics The new US administration seemed to score a big coup in Asia last week, when China blocked a fleet of North Korean cargo ships carrying coal to Chinese markets....Read more

Three Negotiating Issues to Watch at the Xi Trump Meeting

The upcoming Xi – Trump meeting is the first face-to-face sit down between the two leaders.  The US side has been clear about what it wants from China, but it’s not quite as clear what it plans...Read more

The Future of US-China Commercial Relations: Welcome to the Multiconomy

Takeaway – Established Western brands will continue to defend their global leadership positions for a while yet, but Chinese corporates are taking control of growing niches and new...Read more

5 Negotiating Lessons from Sec. of State Tillerson’s Beijing Trip

That treacherous opening Chinese toast. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his first official visit to China last weekend, and the White House probably sees it as one of the bright spots in a...Read more

Share FlashMBA Articles


Follow Flash