When to Make the First Offer

Notes on Negotiation
Written by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

When evaluating whether to make the first offer in a negotiation, here are several factors that support doing so:

1)  Your side traditionally makes the first offer;

2)  You have sufficient information to determine an appropriate starting point;

3)  It will substantially set the parties’ expectations; and

4)  You have a strategic advantage (leverage or information) which will likely lessen over time.

Finally, new research about thefirst offer effect (sometimes referred to as anchoring) – that negotiators typically achieve better outcomes when making the first offer than when receiving it – also supports taking the initiative and making the first offer when appropriate.


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or Latz@ExpertNegotiator.com

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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