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Tactical Tuesday: Dropping Anchor (aka: Stage Setting)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Aug 1, 2017 10:04:29 AM

AKA: Stage setting, Ambitious Open, Seizing the agenda

Anchor.jpegDescription: Deliver your ambitious opening offer first, and set the range of all subsequent discussion. Anchoring is useful for establishing a price or value range – and for determining the negotiating agenda.  You must be confident in your opening offer, however, since you can’t raise it later.

Intent: Seize the initiative, influence value, and set the agenda.

Style: Competitive – but can be Collaborative.

Category: Value Manager

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

Drop anchor to set the negotiating rangePIFH (Power/Influence; Fear or Hope): Anchoring can be a Power move – if you’ve got the Power and the desire to force through your own agenda. Depending on how it’s deployed, it can be Fear or Hope  as well. If you want to make this an influencing tactics, phrase everything in terms of WE and US.


Counter: Stick to your guns and deliver the L you have already prepared. Re-Anchor. Wait at the Altar .

Related/Combination: Anchors often involve Big Story, Deadlines, Benchmarking, and other tactics that can help you set the agenda.  

Anchoring:  Negotiating tactic that sets the bargaining rangeNote:  Anchoring is as simple as making the first proposal or price offer. Anchoring is useful for establishing a price or value range – and for determining the negotiating agenda. You must be confident in your opening offer, however, since you can’t raise it later.

Even if you decide you want to hear his opening offer before you announce your own – you still have to develop your own ambitious opening offer. Always know what a WIN looks like.

If someone anchors you, there are two options.  If you feel that the offer is serious, then your best option is to stick to your guns and deliver the ambitious “win” proposal you have already prepared.  If, however, the offer is cutthroat, crazy, or clueless, then you have to find a way to reset the entire process — or walk away and keep going .   Don’t automatically accept his anchor position and start calling out numbers.  Once you respond, you are committed to the negotiating process.

The delicate art of the Re-Anchor

So what if you walk in with a plan to drop Anchor, but the other side beats you to the punch? Then you have to re-Anchor. They slapped their agenda onto the table first – you just go ahead and get yours out there too. There are 3 ways to do it:

  1. The Good Idea
  2. Thanks for the Input
  3. Steamroll
  1. The Good Idea: You are acknowledging their offer. You are starting with that as the benchmark, but adding to it or altering specific variables. Basically, a concession. “Well I know you put a lot of thought into this proposal, but I think that we really have to get paid market rates.”
  2. Thanks for the Input: You acknowledge that they said something, but don’t really treat it as a fully formed proposal. Those are some interesting ideas. “Here are MY interesting ideas, and the reason they are more relevant to this situation.”
  3. The Steamroller: You don’t acknowledge that they said anything at all, and you haven’t really given much thought to what they may think. “Here is MY agenda. This is what we will discuss. Let us begin now.”

Final word: 

Anchorers negotiate DOWN from their opening position.

Anchorees negotiate UP from their bottom line.

Decide which one you want to be – and

which one you can pull off.

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

How to Negotiate for Millennials - the Negotiator's Toolkit ebook


Topics: Tactical Tuesday, negotiating tactics, Negotiating agenda, Drop anchor, Anchoring

Written by Andrew Hupert

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