Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Negotiation technique: "on your honor" gambit

I recently bought a small car as a surprise gift for my father.


My negotiation was very atypical.

I didn't go to see the car and never met the seller.

After a brief conversation about the price, I sent my offer "ready to move ahead".
My price was lower than anything they could accept, but it only served as an anchor and to prod them to come down a bit more.

There are pros and cons to that approach: it gives away your willingness to buy, which empowers the seller. On the other hand, if the sellers need the money or want/need to move quick, it's a good incentive for him to move quick as well.

They replied with their own offer which was in line with what I expected and something I was happy with.


Nibbling means to "field one more last (small) request right when you're about to close".

The request should be small enough that the seller just thinks "alright, that was cheeky of you to ask, but fuck it, I'm not gonna derail the deal for this thing now, just take it".

It's a great technique.

My nibbling technique in this case was:

Me: Alright, fair enough, I accept your price if you put a full tank of fuel

They replied there was no way for that since the price was already too good.

The lady said:

Her: let's do without fuel, I can't believe my father even gave it to you at this price, and we will take care of all the delivery costs

LOL, you can always count on car salesmen to play all negotiation games in the book (there are two in there if you can spot them).

Anyway, now come my last negotiation gambit, the "on your honor" gambit:

On your honor gambit

Me: Ehehe OK, look, I'm good to go ahead. Send me the bank details and how much fuel in the tank, I'll leave it up to you :).

If I wanted to go overboard here, I could have added:

I'm good to go ahead because I like you, and you seem like an honest and reliable seller (<- so now they'd have a reputation to uphold and might not want to disappoint my expectations)

And/or I could have added a future silver medal technique saying something like:

Do your best, and I think I will be a happy future customer of yours (<- so now they'd have to make sure to win my loyalty for future business)

But my approach towards life is to generally limit the games to the strict necessary -I'd like to call it "game minimalist" approach-.
I'm happy to support the local economy that's already under strain and I'm happy for them to have their own profit.

Still, the "base" technique is enough.

Let's analyze it.

Notice I didn't agree to no fuel -or to be more precise, to the "as little as possible" fuel sellers usually go for-.
If I hadn't said anything, that would have mean I consented for them to deliver it with a couple liters' fuel.
Instead, I said, "I leave it up to you".

Now there is pressure on them as to how much fuel there will be.

In a way, it's up to their honor as a fair negotiator and a value-adding human being -hence the technique's name-.

If they show up with the fuel gauge in the red, that's also, indirectly, a red strike against them.
If they show up with more than enough, that's all "fuel in their reputation".


Fuel half full, indicator right in the middle:

Maybe even a bit more than the middle, since we did some testing drive and it was still indicating half-full at the end of the day.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

"On Your Honor": it's also a great shit test

This technique can also be used as a test to assess people's character.

Those who care about keeping a positive/fair social balance will go above the bare minimum they can get away with.
Those with a short-term, scalping, and value-taking mindset will jump on the opportunity to get every last milligram of the pie.

I also use it often with women, where I might say "I'll get this and that, you bring something you like", or "get some typical food from (wherever she's from)".
Then, see what she shows up with.
Does she make an effort to chip on her part of the meal?

No, it's a strike against her for a possible relationship (or you might have to teach her some)
Yes, it's a very positive sign.


Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Good real-life example of "on your honor" gambit:

Franzese: that's it, I don't know how much of this is gonna get into the interview, but I'm telling YOU, so that you know, and whatever you wanna put out there, it's up to you, this is your show

The "you" shows respect for the interviewer, plus empowers them to decide, and indirectly pulls an "on your honor" gambit.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

"On Your Honor": It's Also A Great Shit Test

This is one of the best tests for business partners as well.
It helped me get rid of some people who can talk really well and look good on paper but simply can't or don't follow through on commitments.


During an idea/market evaluation phase,

You: I will let you decide on how many customer interviews to schedule.

If he comes back with 20 interviews within a few days, you know that this is a serious person.
If he agrees & schedules only one interview, maybe you should drop him.

It can be even simpler like preparing for meetings.

You: I will work on brainstorming potential solutions to this problem while you work on the customer and market research.
I will leave it up to you on how comprehensive you would like that to be.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Very cool way of turning it into a test in business settings, Matthew.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?