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By Michael Angier

High Need, Low Power; Low Need, High Power

In any transaction, the one with the lowest need for the transaction to happen has the greatest power. Conversely, the one with the highest need to make it happen wields the least power.

Because we're moving to Florida for the rest of the winter, we decided to sell our vehicles. One has already been replaced and the other we planned on trading later this year. But rather than have them sit over the next three months, we figured we'd sell them now.

January isn't the best month to sell cars in Vermont, and the calls we've received from the ads we ran have been few. The good news is, we don't NEED to sell them. And that means we're in a better position.

If we were moving for good, we would need to sell and the ad might even say "must sell" or "best offer." In doing so, we tell others that we're a "motivated seller" and the chance of getting a great deal—for the buyer—is high.

This is a low-power position. Even though we might attempt to cloak our need to sell from a potential buyer, the fact is, WE know we need to make a deal. And no matter how much we might try to conceal our anxiousness to sell, it seems to me that, at least at some level, the other party gets it. They sense our need to sell.

Whether you're seeking a job, buying a company, selling a house or negotiating a divorce settlement, this principle holds true: High need, low power. Low need, high power.

Action Point
The more flexible you can be, the more options you have, the stronger your bargaining position.

As much as possible, avoid being in situations where you absolutely must buy or sell—or where you have few options. The more easily you can "walk away" from a deal, the much better your chances of getting a good one.





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First published 01/13/2005
Last Updated 01/18/2005