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5 Negotiation Tactics You Can Learn

These negotiation tactics are highly effective, don’t let them be used on you!

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When was the last time you negotiated anything?

We negotiate all the time. At work, at home, at restaurants, shops, everywhere. Yet, we barely notice that we do it. It runs as a part of everyday conversations.

Skillful negotiators know how to use tactics to get what they want. They leave the meeting smiling, you in doubts. You don’t want that. You should feel good about negotiation even when you don’t achieve the best results.

To get closer to the win/win situation, you need to get to know the other side by answering:

  • What do they want?

  • Why are some issues important for them?

  • What negotiation style do they have?

  • What tactics do they use?

… we stop on the last one. Tactics are useful to know. You don’t have to use them, but you want to know when they are used on you. As it gives you an active advantage in your negotiations. Let’s have the ball rolling!

1. Trading

Is trading asking for a favor? No, it is not the same. Trading requires anticipation of both. Below is an example conversation:

A: If you were able to deliver faster, then I would be willing to pay a bit more. B: Ok, if you gave me the final materials today, I would start working on them and deliver them faster. A: If you gave me the template after this meeting, I would fill it in straightway.

Trading is a powerful tactic, how to meet in the middle and hit the win/win situation. We see from the negotiation that we are asking for favors and putting conditions in the game. This is a way how to undercover what is important for the other party (e.g., time, money, resources, correct materials, etc.).

You need to play with information that flies around. If time is important, you can raise the price for a speedy delivery. If money is essential, you can ask if they can pick the order themselves. Be creative and don’t give your important issues away that easily as they can use them against you:

A: We can’t deliver it faster, we have a limited capacity, I am afraid. B: In such a case, I need to ask a different supplier who can do the job. A: But we have such a long relationship. We were always reliable in the delivery. B: Okay, but if I keep this business with you, I want a 5% discount for the next order.

B now knows that he has leverage over A. He knows that A does not want to lose the business, so he’s milking the situation.

Keep trading both-sided. That’s the only way how you can enjoy it. Point down the language If you… then I. It will be useful for your next negotiation.

2. Reluctant seller/buyer

Have you ever heard:

This is not exactly what I want. I am not decided. I need to think if this is the right direction for me. I don’t know. I am not sure if we can deliver that.

Some people indeed are indecisive. They don’t know. But others use it as a tactic.

Their reluctant approach makes you put extra effort into persuading them. You may even trade or give favor to get this business done. If that’s the case, you need to think about how much time you want to invest.

It can be that people don’t know, then don’t waste time on pulling your best arguments. Give time to think and come back.

3. The product/service is bad

I have met this tactic a lot. I was selling my Ducati monster bike and a potential buyer came. He loved the bike but complained that the bike was old, it needed some technical check, and that the price was too high. He tried to know my beloved bike. I didn’t sell it to him.

This tactic is classic. People try to make you feel bad about your service/ product. So, that they get a discount and a lower price.

It is not the product, it is a tactic. They want it. They just play on your sentiment to get what they want.

If this tactic is successful, they get the lower price, and you are happy to get business/to sell the product — after all, good that you got rid of it.

Tackle your thoughts. Be confident about yourself and what you offer. If they come up with negative comments, tell them:

That’s why the price is so reasonable. This is reflected in the price already.

Cheeky? But can be effective in tackling the negative waterfall of arguments why the price is too high.

4. Higher authority

People can’t decide on their own. They need to discuss with their partners or bosses. Yet, this is another tactic used, especially when they are not happy about the price:

A: The price is too high. I need approval from my boss. B: Okay, let me know what he thinks. A: But, if the price was lower, I could sign the contract myself without any delay…

Bang. Smooth, almost apologetic argument to lower the price. Don’t jump on the hook. You should rather ask to get in touch with the boss to discuss the business with someone who has formal authority.

Often we lead a conversation with people who can’t decide. So, make sure you deal with the right person to save yourself energy.

At the same time, you can be creative and offer to make two orders instead of one. You can split the payments or trade. It may speed the business up or at least undercover if the other party is using it as a tactic to weaken your position.

5. Today only

No, please. This is complete nonsense. There is nothing like ‘today only’. I receive many promo emails saying:

50% only today. Sign by the end of the week to get the special discount. Only by Friday, you can get an extra package for free.

What happens if I miss my chance? I get another special offer soon. So, if you see discounts limited by time, don’t believe them. You can always get a discount if you negotiate for it.

One negotiation professor asked his students to negotiate in restaurants and retail establishments. Guess what was the success rate in the class.

10%? 30%?

No, it was more than 69%. So, regardless of special offers, you can always ask for a discount.

„If you don’t ask, you don’t get.“ — Mahatma Gandhi


Take negotiation as a part of your everyday life. Feel even positive about it.

Now you know what some negotiation tactics are. So, you can use them. But especially, you won’t fall for them. As they are used to tricking you into a business you might not be happy about.

Try to always find as much information as possible. Ask questions. Battle tactics and don’t trust everything the other side tells you. Special offers don’t exist, they are negotiated.

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