I was a part of a negotiation that went nowhere really quickly. A client of mine wanted me to sit in on the meeting about selling his growing website to a big “portal” site. The buyer scribbled on a piece of paper and then shoved it towards us saying, and I quote, “This is my offer, and you are going to take it because you are pathetic, and desperate and need the cash.” My client froze, his fists clenched and, to his credit, with a solid poker face, glanced at the amount, then stood up and left the meeting. I blinked twice in sheer disbelief, then followed.
On the ride home, he finally spoke. “The offer was okay on its own, but not good enough when paired with an insult like that.”**
It would have been humiliating for my client to take the deal. Those words literally lowered the value of the buyer’s money. If he shut his mouth or sent a stand-in to deliver the offer, he would have had a deal.
Ego cost is a part of the deal that the clients feel like they are paying. What happened at that meeting was a consequence of this: as the ego price was driven up by the insult, the tolerance for the price tag went down.**
In order to lower the ego price, make the offer feel more personalized, exclusive, or relevant to the goals that you and the clients share. As an experiment, draft 2 versions of your next proposal – one focused on ego cost, one neutral. Compare reactions and… profit!**