Specific numbers make negotiations more favorable. For you. Not the other guy.

Doesn’t matter who you are or what you want, University Herald explains. The negotiator who asks for the specific number gets the upper hand:

Research conducted by [Columbia Business School] Professors Malia Mason and Daniel Ames and doctoral students Alice Lee and Elizabeth Wiley finds that asking for a specific and precise dollar amount versus a rounded-off dollar amount can give you the upper hand during any negotiation over a quantity.

The research, forthcoming in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, looks at the two-way flow of communication between 1,254 fictitious negotiators.

The negotiators were placed in everyday scenarios such as buying jewelry or negotiating the sale of a used car. Some people were asked to make an opening offer using a rounded-off dollar amount, while other people were asked to use a precise dollar amount; let’s say for example $5,000 vs. $5,015.

The results showed that overall, people making an offer using a precise dollar amount such as $5,015 versus a rounded-off dollar amount such as $5,000 were perceived to be more informed about the true value of the offer being negotiated. This perception, in turn, led precise-offer recipients to concede more value to their counterpart.

In their negotiation scenarios, the professors concluded the person making a precise offer is successfully giving the illusion they have done their homework. When perceived as better informed, the person on the opposite end believes there is less room to negotiate.

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