Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

The Simple Way to Get What You Want

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The Simple Way to Get What You Want

So many ways to use this one!

Whether it’s haggling for a vintage blue coat at a flea market, buying a car, getting your kids to clean their room or asking the person you love to find more time for you, new research has found the way to ask to give your request more muscle – and you more chance of getting what you want.

Let’s set a scene … You’ve been wandering around the antique market (and if you’re not into antiques, play along anyway – it’ll be worth it!) and you find the perfect armchair. Needs a bit of work but you’ve fallen in love. You’ve been looking for the perfect armchair forever and this is it. Or maybe, technically, you haven’t been looking that hard, but it’s just so freaking gorgeous. Now to get it for the right money.

There are two ways to ask the question (okay clever ones – you’re right – there are plenty more ways to ask the question but they all come down to these two): 

  • Will you sell the chair to me for $200?
  • I will give you $200 for the chair.

 The content in the two sentences is identical, but the second one is the way to go. Here’s why.

The first one, ‘Will you sell the chair to me for $200′, draws the attention to the selling of the chair, which is what the seller will lose if the deal is struck. When the questions is framed like this, the words are around loss – ‘sell’, ‘let go of’, ‘will you give me’. That loss is at the front of the offer and is the first thing the seller will hear.

On the other hand, the second option points out what the seller has to gain: ‘I will give you $200 …’. ‘Give’ – it’s such a lovely word, especially when you’re on the receiving end. See how that works?

According to psychologist Dr. Roman Trötschel of Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the one whose loss is emphasized will be less willing to compromise .

The researchers conducted eight studies involving a total of 650 participants to see if the theory held up. It did.

Here’s what you need to know:

If whatever you’re offering is put at the front of the offer, you’ll achieve better results.

It works this way for the buyer or the seller:

  • As the buyer, try, ‘I’ll give you $200 for the chair.’
  • As the seller, try, ‘You can have the chair for $200.’

But it’s not just for money matters. You’ll Love This …

The news gets better. This works for any negotiation, even if it’s not money at stake.

Wanting to head somewhere special for a weekend away? Try ‘let’s have some time together and head to the beach this weekend. Just the two of us.’ 

Want your kids to push a bit harder with schoolwork? ‘You’ll do a great job of this test. Now, go and put in some work, hey?”

The main takeaway from this research is to put what the other person has to gain at the front of the offer. Try it and see how you go.

The beauty of something like this is that there’s absolutely no harm in trying. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain. What’s not to love about that.           

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