Trade Wins: Crafting Your Opening Offer

Ryan McKee looks at the all-important opening offer in trade negotiations and how you can use effective bracketing techniques to your advantage.

| 3 years ago

Ryan McKee looks at the all-important opening offer in trade negotiations and how you can use effective bracketing techniques to your advantage.

Trade Wins: Crafting Your Opening Offer


Frank Gore

Last week I wrote about how weeks 8 and 9 of the season are a key trade period for opportunistic managers.  With 12 teams on bye over the 2-week span, rosters will get stretched thin and those teams in need of wins will be open to trade talk.

I thought for this week, it might be a good time to look at trade strategy – specifically the importance of your first offer to an opponent and the concept of bracketing.  The following is an excerpt from my book and offers some useful tips in ensuring your trade talks start and end in your favor.


Your opening offer is the key to how the whole trade discussion will go. It’s important not to go in too aggressive, nor do you want to undersell your position and aint yourself into a corner.  Most importantly, your opening offer should aim high but just low enough to encourage discussion.

How’s that for an imprecise directive? Let’s dig a little deeper to get to the heart of the matter.

Aiming high has obvious and not-so-obvious benefits. First, you might actually get what you asked for! But if you don’t, you’ve set the standard upon which the negotiation will follow. Typical negotiations fall into a this-for-that formula, and so by aiming high with your initial offer, you’ll be able to come down a little with an expectation that your opponent will come up. This may serve you well, as your high opening offer gives you room to come down and still be happy. It also creates a feeling of ‘winning’ for the other side since they’ll see you come down from your original position. By giving yourself some buffer room, you also decrease the chances of a deadlock since the negotiation can go in any number of directions.

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