Business Negotiation August 20, 2013

The Salami Slice Approach

I like salami, especially the hard Italian variety that comes in a roll. When I buy it, my plan is to have it around for a week. I promise myself I’ll cut a slice or two as a treat from time to time. The trouble is that it never happens that way. What happens is that I cut myself a slice as soon as I get home from the store. Then another slice and then another. Before the day passes there is no more salami.

That’s the way the Salami Tactic works in negotiation. A friend of mine is a big contractor. His negotiations are complex with lots of issues in contention. He would like to win them all at one time if he could, but the opposing negotiator rarely lets that happen. They don’t concede the whole salami in one piece.

What my friend has learned is that most people in negotiation don’t mind giving small concessions, a slice of this issue and a slice of that issue. They don’t mind being flexible to keep the talks moving along. So what he does is try to get the whole salami, or most of it, slice by slice. A little here, a little there. With persistence he is able to win a nice chunk of the salami.

As a large contractor he deals with many subcontractors for such services as framing, plumbing and electrical work. In addition to obtaining at least three or four bids on every contract, he demands cost breakdowns from each bidder. Because competition is fierce, he usually gets good bids and detailed cost breakdowns. After the prices arrive, my friend negotiates with the low bidder for a still lower price using the salami approach.

Say the bidder comes in very low at $581,900. The contractor, happy with the bid, has decided to use the salami technique to win further concessions. He is trying to get a mere 2 percent slice of salami on every element of cost. The contractor goes through the bid and takes little salami slices of 2 percent from each of the subcontractor’s cost elements: estimated labor hours, labor rate, material cost, consulting cost, administrative and profit. Each slice in itself is quite small in contrast to the seller’s bid of $581,900. But the small slices add up to a $28,872 saving, almost 5 percent. $28,872 buys a lot of salami.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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