‘Take it or leave it’ is rough when you hear it. Really rough. And when you use it, sometimes you can pull it off and sometimes you can’t. Obviously if you have all the leverage, it’s much easier to pull off. And it doesn’t mean you have to use, “take it or leave it”. You could say something like, “That’s it, we don’t negotiate.”
But, I actually don’t recommend using this kind of language unless you absolutely have to. But chances are, it will or has been used on you. So what do you do if someone uses this kind of language on you?
It’s a tough position to be in when someone flexes like this. But there are a few ways to respond. But before you respond, you need to determine their leverage and their ability to push away from the table. If they can very easily walk away with very little or no impact to their business, then it makes your wording very different. But let’s deal with the situation where you have equal or stronger leverage first.
Don’t be afraid to call BS on their ‘take it or leave it’ statement. The easiest way to to call them on it is to emphasize that your management requires a better deal/flexibility from negotiating parties. This separates you from a potential conflict situation by deflecting ownership of the decision. So your wording would go something like, “Look, I understand that your pricing is firm, but our management requires a significantly better price than what you’re proposing. What can you do for me?”
If you get no where with this, go over their head. Now this one is also tough. Again, you need to determine position and nature of relationship, long term effects, and position of person you’re negotiating with. But just because someone is taking a firm approach with you, doesn’t mean the person above is going to. Don’t be afraid to flex back. Remember, a hard ball approach in negotiating, sometimes requires you to respond in kind.
Then lastly, if you have little to no leverage and you’ve tried a few angles, you could always beg. Don’t let your pride get in the way of very kindly asking for a deal. Especially if you’re not in a strong negotiating position. I’m not above begging to get a good deal. If it saves me money, I’m all over it. Be sweet about it. Be nice. And kindly request a deal. So many people view negotiating as a pride thing and they let their personal pride get in between them and getting a good deal. But it’s all strategy and tactics. Don’t let your pride get in between you and getting a deal.
If someone takes a hard ball approach with you, let them. If they want to be in control, let them take control. If you have enough leverage to respond in kind, do it. If not, stroke their ego and get the deal.