Two Steps to More Negotiation Leverage

We’re told that it’s good to know exactly what you want.

But when we’re buying or negotiating, sometimes that precision can work against us. Consider these examples:

Adam: I want Kung Pao chicken from Wu’s Garden for lunch

Bill: I want to eat Chinese food for lunch

Who has more options in venues and menus? Who has more ‘negotiating’ power in price and location? Another example:

Adam: I’m going to buy a blue 2013 Honda Pilot

Bill: I’m going to buy a car

Who has more leverage at the dealership?

STEP 1: Move from Specific to General

These examples show movement from the specific to the general and the corresponding increase in options. They illustrate the premium on precision and the value of flexibility. But we’re still talking about Features and Products. When we move to the Benefit, even more possibilities emerge.

Let’s Meet Carl

We know what Adam and Bill want for lunch. Carl simply wants to have Less Hunger. With that aim, new possibilities open up. He could find a vending machine or open a jar of peanut butter or eat Indian food.

Adam and Bill want cars. Carl wants to get from Point A to Point B, repeatedly. He still has all the car options of his friends, but might consider a motorcycle, taking the bus, or hitchhiking.

STEP 2: Move from Feature to Benefit

Carl will probably go to lunch with his friends, and we know that for mundane purchases, too many options can over-complicate the buying decision. [Link to cheese article.] But for the bigger purchases your company makes, more options are a good thing. Here are two examples of companies that made the progression and captured more value as a result:

A – We want to buy advertising on [Website X]

B – We want to buy advertising on a website that reaches this audience

C – We want More Access to qualified customers to generate leads


A – We want [Consultant Y] to help us craft our strategy

B – We want a qualified consulting company to help us craft our strategy

C – We want More Expertise as we craft our strategy

Only Fifteen Benefits – Video Lesson

Have you tied your purchase to the Benefit? It’s simpler than you may think – in fact there are only 15 benefits that cover everything you ever buy. Learn the 15 Benefits and how to apply them in this video lesson.


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