Making concessions during negotiations: does it further your position?

I read a Harvard article where it is stated as fact that concessions are necessary during the negotiation process as it evokes a strong social obligation to reciprocate. In other words it suggests that during negotiations one party will make concessions and the other will develop an urge to reciprocate. Let us think about this for a moment. You want to buy my car. I advertised it for a fixed price and I can see you are seriously considering buying it. We are talking, negotiating. “If you buy the car, I will give you a full tank of fuel.” Quite a profound concession. Theoretically the response should now be: “Wow, you have just sweetened the deal. Yes I will take it!” However the real response is: “What else are you prepared to do? How about a set of new tyres?” Once your kindness for concessions has totally been exhausted, then and only then haggling about the price will start. So the better position is to make any concession conditional on something you would want. “If you pay me the full price in cash today, I will sell the car with a full tank of fuel.” Unfortunately in real life, there is no social urge to reciprocate, rather to exploit.  Bear this in mind the next time you feel the urge to be nice.

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