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Loss Adjusters

Published: Mar 29 , 2018
Author: Tom Feinson

Don’t ask me how but I managed to acquire a reader subscription account to the Financial Times recently. As a result; I thought I should check it out. To be honest, most of it is above my head but I did notice an article on the two leaders of the Brexit negotiations, Michel Barnier & David Davies. This seemed more like home territory for me.

One thing that stood out was a quote attributed to David Davies, from his book how to turn around a company. It goes like this:

“Make piecemeal concessions, with a declining concession pattern and keep all concessions low”

This is quite sophisticated thinking for our friend David, something he’s not known for, although does claim to have been to Leeds.

 

Attitudes to loss & gain have been investigated by researching the psychology of finding and losing money and they make interesting reading. We all like to find money but there are implications to how we find it.

Which of these scenarios would you prefer?

Scenario A:

While walking down the street, you find a €20 note

Scenario B:

While walking down the street, you find a €10 note. The next day, you find another €10 note.

The total amount of money found is the same in each scenario—yet the vast majority of people report that Scenario B would make them happier.

When you reverse the situation?

Scenario A:

While walking down the street, you lose a €20 note

Scenario B:

While walking down the street, you lose a €10 note. The next day, you lose another €10 note.

The inverse happens, we would rather lose €20 in one go than €10 on two separate occasions.

 

Research (beginning with the work of the late Amos Tversky and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman in the 1970s) demonstrates that while most of us prefer to get bad news all at once, we prefer to get good news in instalments.

So well done David, big pat on the back then!?

The only thing you forgot was to get something in return. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated or otherwise your concession strategy is if you don’t get something in return you are only ever giving stuff away and that’s not a good place to be.

It is sensible to have a concession strategy; all good negotiators know they will have to make concessions but always make sure you have a demand strategy to match it. Given the above insight, I would make sure my demand strategy was the opposite of my concession strategy, tell people what you want, all of it and be specific.

 


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Tom Feinson
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