How to Get a Better Deal
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Are you trying to negotiate a deal, influence a stakeholder, or even make a sale?

Sure it's complicated and no single mental model will save you. But, together, this growing list of models will help you expand your toolkit and help you to make a better deal. 

Be sure to check back regularly as there are more models we're keen to add to this Playbook.

[Please note - while a lot of our content is free, about 25% of models on ModelThinkers are currently premium content for members only. It just so happens that many of the models in this Playbook happen to be on that premium list. Find out more about accessing all our member options by joining ModelThinkers here.]


A fundamental sales based model that differentiates between your description of features versus benefits that capture the 'What's In It For Me' of the person you are negotiating with. This is another premium content model, for members only.

When negotiating and phrasing your deal, remember that losses count more than gains. This will help when posing opportunity costs as losses, and encourage you to highlight the cost of doing nothing. And another members only model.

Building on the previous model, Value Proposition encourages you to frame up your offer in clear terms to your targeted audience. A worthwhile exercise in any negotiation to be clear on what you're offering to whom, where it's value lies, and how it differs from competitors.

And finally, a pure and unashamed sales model. Challenger Sales takes a modern approach to selling in complex environments by leading with insights and challenging the status quo to better position your sale.

How much have you invested in this deal? It might be time, money, or even emotional attachment. Either way, be sure you're not a victim of the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Also a members only model.

This foundational economic model looks at the potential loss of the next best choice. Use it to understand what you will settle for, but also as part of your pitch by understanding your stakeholder's opportunity cost in not making the deal. A member's only model.

One of the most classic, persistent and, dare I say, influential models in this space. It's cheating because it's really six models wrapped up into one — Cialdini's ground breaking work is still relevant today. Note, this model is premium content for members only.

On the topic of unconscious biases and potential negotiating/ deal-making fallacies, you'd have to consider the Availability Heuristic. Be aware of what has been planted in your mind and in the mind of your opponent as potential influencers over the negotiation.

Building on Opportunity Cost, this core model for negotiation encourages you to do the research so you know your opponent's Best Alternative to the Negotiated Agreement and the resulting Zone of Potential Agreement. This is another member's only model.

In any negotiation or sale, use this flexible model to either breakdown and approach a group of stakeholders and/or to overcome objections a piece at at time.

Strongly related to the Availability Heuristic, Anchoring might involve ensuring that you're the first one to offer a price range, so you 'anchor' the rest of the negotiation on your terms.

When trying to offer value to a stakeholder, remember Hyperbolic Discounting and the fact that immediate small rewards generally are more motivating than long term pay offs. So, what's the immediate (small) sweetener that you can offer to tilt the scales in your direction.
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