When we are close to closing on a deal, we may bring up “optional offers” so our adversary must deal with the decision. In certain contexts, choice is of value. Multiple offers for one transaction may be used as a strategic procedural move to lower cost by creating competition (which also plays to contrast, discussed above); or it may be used tactically as a dynamic mechanism. There are several motivations behind this tactic. It may be used for relationship or customer-focused reasons: to bifurcate the deal, knowing people like choices in certain settings; or to complicate the deal when we are being forced into one option (yes or no) which may not fit the transaction; or to show openness to other ideas and creative problem-solving. The more insidious motive is to corral the other party into our preferred option by putting two options on the table: one which is very undesirable and one which we want.
“I can offer you option one, which meets all of your requirements but we will need more time to deliver; or option two, which also meets all your requirements including your time frame. For option two, we will need a 90% down payment.”
To approach this tactic, ask for priorities and know your own. Focus on your needs and take control of the negotiation. If you are in a binary option stage, know that many times those form the brackets and room for negotiation may be found between the two options. Cherry pick: that is, assemble your own option containing the best of each offer on the table. Resistance is countered by repeatedly asking why you can’t cherry pick.