Responding to an offer

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Life is full of surprises. One day you’re going along minding your own business and then out of the blue someone comes and makes demands on you in the form of proposals.

It’s the cut and thrust of life. There’s nothing you can do about it.

People will approach you with proposals, sometimes tentative proposals. They will gild the lily and make their proposals sound good. But is it in your interest?

That’s why it’s important to know how to respond to an offer. The first thing is not to get emotional if you can already see that whatever the person is proposing is not in your favour or interests.

Yes, I know it’s difficult to handle emotions. The way people treat people leaves much to be desired. But all I can say is you have to find a way to manage your emotions.

Next, mull over the offer or proposal. Get down into it and see what the other person’s interests are. They wouldn’t have come to you unless they wanted something from you – and usually at your expense or if it concerns value to save them money and still get what they want at the lowest possible price.

The person who made the offer is going to pull out the well-worn Win-Winv cliché. But don’t believe in soft talk about win-win outcomes (do so if you wish — you may be a believer in the tooth fairy or magical thinking). Win-win is rare.

If you are able and you don’t like their offer, walk away.

If you can’t walk away — because the other person has some hold over you or your livelihood — then interrogate their proposal. Before you act, think about what experts you can bring into help you assess their offer. Do you need a lawyer, business expert or a financial planner, for instance?

Beware the pitfalls in counterproposals — don’t make unnecessary concessions to their unfavourable terms. Your counter proposal should not let them off the hook but be realistic and assertive.

Be friendly, know that others are human beings with their own agendas, trying to extract as much out of you and giving away little. But be careful in what you agree to. Reflect, get expert opinion (if you need to) and then act.

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