Negotiating in Life , Negotiating Tips , Business Negotiation April 11, 2011

Is there such a thing as average?

Somewhere out there, the Average Joe is living it up. He is mentioned so often that he is famous for being just like the rest of us, if we were famous...

Somewhere out there, the Average Joe is living it up. He is mentioned so often that he is famous for being just like the rest of us, if we were famous. But what makes the Average Joe so average? Is he earning the average salary? Does he have 2.5 children? Does he wear a size 9 shoe?

The Average Joe is shorthand for what the typical consumer looks like. But we all know there is no truly average person. Every person has his/her own distinction or differentiation.

In business negotiations, we use lots of averages: the average price, the average delivery time, standard rates, and so forth. The defines average as:
Number or quantity that is in-between (intermediate to) several quantities and numbers.

This is important because it is telling us the average is not a “real” number…it is in-between numbers.

Dr. Chester L. Karrass advises us to be careful about using and accepting averages. He writes in his book Give and Take:
Be skeptical the next time someone shows you a number like 120 percent overhead or a standard interest charge. Ask whether the average (and that’s what it is) should really apply to your transaction.


List prices, standard products, and discount schedules are negotiable. Why? Because they represent averages. They were designed to fit the average customer at some average period of time. You are you. You are not the average. Take it from there. Averages are always negotiable.

How do you deal with averages? Do you use them as a guideline or do you discount them completely?
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