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The Flinch

One technique every deal-maker should master

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This story appears in the April 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you learn only one negotiating technique, learn to flinch.The rule is: Never accept the first offer. Any decent opponent willask for more than they expect to receive, and you have to disabusethem of this notion. After all, the more eager you are, the morethe other side will push; the more indifferent you seem, the moreyour opponent will concede.

You can flinch big or flinch small. Whether it's laughter ora subtle smirk, the important thing is that you react quickly andnegatively to your opponent's first offer. Even if it'sunbelievably generous, haggle--or at least grumble. And keep yourglee to yourself. To professional deal-makers, the flinch mustbecome second nature.

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