29 Jul Negotiation Tactics

When we are negotiating, many of us prefer to stay away from conflict.  A common mistake many of us make when negotiating in business is to be uncommunicative or unassertive in an attempt to appear ‘fair and reasonable’.  Be warned that often, ‘fair and reasonable’ is a way of reducing your power and out-negotiating yourself. Remember, YOU HAVE SOMETHING THEY WANT!   Don’t be a target for someone’s aggression or unrealistic expectations.

What tactics can you use to create a win/win in this negotiation game?

Vice/Crunch is when the other party gets you to reveal your bottom line.  For example, they might ask: “How much are you willing to negotiate?”  Best defence: crunch them back. For example, you could respond with:  “How much are you willing to spend?”

Limited Authority is meant to stall you.  It’s when they say something like: “Fred didn’t approve your leave for November.  We’ll have to go back to him with a different month”.   Best defence: qualify the person before the negotiation to make sure they have the power to negotiate with you.  Or if you have no choice then agree in principle for example: “Let’s agree that this is a good deal and you’ll present this in the correct spirit on my behalf”.

Splitting the Difference is where the other party will say, well you want it for $500 and I want to get $700, let’s split the difference and make it $600. If you agree to this you have just thrown away $100 in a split second!  Best defence: go back to the original position for example:  “I’m at $500 and you are at $700 what could we do next, other than split the difference?”  Or get concession for example:  “I’ll split the difference if you do xyz”.

Legitimacy is when the other party says that it’s in writing so we must follow the rules.  Best defence: “Just because it is in writing doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone”.  Produce your own writing.  Or encourage them to re-write it with you.

Hot Potato is when they have a problem and try to make it yours.  Don’t handle other people’s hot potato, either drop it or hit it back.  Empathise and don’t get involved unless a) you want to or b) you get a concession.

Good Guy / Bad Guy is very common in team negotiations.   It’s when you have a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad guy’.  The bad guy puts you off side and then the good guy steps in to seemingly make things right e.g. “Now listen, even I can see he isn’t being fair here is he?  Why don’t I go and talk with him on your behalf and see if I can get him to change the venue to a place we’re all happy with?”   Be careful of this, because they are not really on your side and therefore, they shouldn’t be negotiating for you.  Best defence:  Call it. Say: “Hey, this isn’t the good guy/bad guy thing is it?”

Personal Attacks is when they call you names.  Best defence: Disassociate. Remind them you are both trying to achieve a positive outcome. Or, stop the game.

Happy negotiating!