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Mastering Negotiation: Repeat the Ask and Stay Silent

In the world of negotiation, there’s a powerful tactic that often gets overlooked. It’s simple yet incredibly effective: repeat the ask and shut up. Let’s break this down and see how you can use it to your advantage.

The Power of Repeating the Ask

When a seller makes a request, the best move you can make is to acknowledge it. Whatever the ask is—be it price, extra time in the house, or any other term—just repeat it back to them. Here’s why this works so well:

By simply repeating the ask, you signal to the seller that you’ve heard them. Let’s say the seller says, “I need six more months to stay in the house.” You respond with, “Six months?” and then you just stay quiet.

Why Silence Works

After you repeat the ask, resist the urge to fill the silence. Sellers will often start explaining themselves, providing you with valuable insights into their real motivations and needs. This is where you strike gold.

When sellers begin to elaborate, they reveal their true desires and the underlying reasons for their demands. These details are crucial because they help you understand what’s driving their ask, allowing you to tailor your negotiation strategy.

Getting to the ‘Why’

Knowing the ‘why’ behind the ask is key. When you repeat the ask and stay silent, the seller tends to divulge this information voluntarily. Understanding their motivations helps you find solutions that work for both parties.

For example, if a seller needs six more months to stay in the house because they’re waiting for their new home to be completed, you have the context to work with. You can then negotiate terms that address this specific need.

Putting It All Together

To make the most out of this tactic, follow these steps:

  1. Active Listening: Pay close attention to the seller’s ask.
  2. Repeat the Ask: Echo their request back to them.
  3. Stay Silent: Let the seller fill the silence with explanations and justifications.
  4. Understand the Why: Use the information they provide to understand their true needs.
  5. Negotiate Effectively: Address these needs in your counteroffer.


The tactic of repeating the ask and then staying silent is a powerful tool in negotiation. It not only shows the seller that you’ve heard them but also prompts them to reveal their true motivations. By understanding the underlying reasons behind their demands, you can craft a negotiation strategy that addresses both parties’ needs effectively.

So next time you’re in a negotiation, remember to repeat the ask and embrace the silence—it might just give you the upper hand you need.

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