Flexibility in domain name negotiations : Sign of graciousness, or weakness?

When negotiating on a domain, the field is open wide. It’s like a chessboard with two armies, the White and the Black.

The game, however, has a mixed set of rules, and knowing how to best utilize both the spoken and the unspoken rules of engagement, can win you the game in very few moves.

Communicating on an electronic platform, such as a domain selling venue or via email, can be impersonal. There is no audiovisual engagement and no way to deduce the other person’s demeanor.

Adding smileys can help remove tension and add playfulness in one’s tone, but it can be borderline unprofessional. What is more important is focusing on the communication’s particulars.

Need to respond to a lowball offer?

Avoid going to lengthy statements on why the domain is worth more. Just say, “no, thanks,” or “that’s not a price I’m comfortable selling at.”

When you start giving reasons, the other party will attempt to devalue them one by one. Eventually, it can become a game of slapping back and forth, a clash versus a conversation.

At some point, negotiations might reach a stalemate. Depending on how motivated you are on achieving a sale, you might want to lower the asking price, with or without a set of terms. For example, setting a BIN lower than before, can become a clear indicator that you are flexible, and willing to surrender some of your profit.

But is this move a sign of graciousness towards the other party, or can it be perceived as a sign of weakness?

In my almost 20 years in domain sales I’ve seen negotiations fail due to being inflexible and unmovable as a stone wall. I’ve also seen negotiations about domains fail because I displayed flexibility too early in the game.

Offering too much too early, can be perceived as a desperate move on your end. The other party will often take time to rethink their strategy, or they can insinuate that they do, even if all they want to achieve is to make you nervous. When that happens, moving one notch down in price will lead to the game’s loss.

Offering options must occur at a point in time when that option leverages not just the price, but the overall level of negotiations.

For example, you can actually increase the asking price, and offer a payment plan spanning 12 or 18 months. Escrow.com does that beautifully. If you don’t need the money up front, domain financing can work very nicely. You might even get the domain back, if the other party fails to make payments!

Usually, when one negotiates with graciousness, they leverage a strong position, acknowledging the buyer’s statements. Your goal is to be a salesperson that presents the goods that the consumer wants, not an artist defending their precious masterpiece to death.

Avoid being perceived as weak by being defensive of your domain asset. Being inflexible in a stubborn manner will terminate the deal, and you might end up hitting your head on the desk. I’ve been there!

Maturity in negotiations arrives with time, and with plenty of failed and successful negotiations. The idea of the game is to play it well and enjoy it. Nobody likes a cranky salesperson, and cranky salespersons never enjoy their earnings.

Good luck with your domain sales.


  1. Flexibility is the ability to find options, and the people that can find the right options make sales happen.

  2. Good points! There is definitely a time to be flexible and a time to hold firm, knowing when to do both how money is made.

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