Negotiation tactics examples can vary from negotiator to negotiator, and from negotiation to negotiation. The better you can identify them, the better your outcome in any negotiation will be.

Many people look at negotiating as an unpleasant experience, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners. They see it as one of the least appealing aspects of running a business and view the other side as a polished professional skilled in the art of manipulation against whom they haven’t got a chance.

However, negotiating is a skill that can be learned. Being able to immediately recognize a bargaining position taken by the other party and develop strategies to respond to their party’s approach can reduce the stress that can accompany the negotiation process.

From a legal standpoint, the most important things you should understand as an entrepreneur or small business owner are the basics of contracts and negotiations.

Extreme Demands/Small Concessions

This is essentially setting the bar high, and then grudgingly giving ground. It’s probably the most common negotiating tactic, especially in price negotiations. It’s a way for the person setting the demands to let the other party know they won’t concede any point without a little bit of a battle. Unfortunately, it can also have the effect of dragging things out since every little thing can become a point of contention.

How to Respond?

  • Come into the negotiation with a clear set of goals.
  • Don’t let the other party get under your skin.
  • Have what is called your “Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement” or BATNA, which is essentially your bottom line number. This is the number below which you will be prepared to walk away from the deal.

Lack of Authority to Make Deal

In this case, you may have spent a great deal of time coming to what you thought was an agreement, only to have the person you’ve been dealing with tell you that they have to check with a supervisor or that someone higher up the power chain has to sign off on any concessions. Now, for all you know, nothing you’ve agreed to is genuine, and concessions you’ve made to reach a deal are seen as your starting points when the person of authority arrives.

How to Respond?

  • Do your research to make sure the person you are meeting with is the decision maker.
  • Make sure the commitment you reached is genuine.
  • If not, and if terms are going to be changed, be prepared to walk away.

Take It or Leave It

This tactic is the epitome of playing from a perceived position of power. It has actually been given a name, “Boulwarism”, which derived from the negotiation tactics of Lemuel Boulware, the former labor negotiator for General Electric. A drawback to this style of negotiation is that it is, in reality, not negotiating, and creates hard feelings and stalemates that can prolong the process.

How to Respond?

Although it may seem pointless to even respond to this hardball tactic, one approach can be to review the offer and determine if there is any merit to it. If so, begin the negotiation by making a counter-offer that you are comfortable with.

After You…or Not

A favored tactic of skilled negotiators is to get you to make the first offer, which you may do with the expectation of a counter offer, only to have the other party immediately begin asking for you to make concessions before their counter offer is made. You are, in essence, negotiating against your own self-interests.  

How to Respond?

  • Don’t fall for this trap.
  • Take a breath, inform the other party that your offer is on the table, and that you’d like to hear if they’ll accept it.
  • Ask them to make an offer of their own.

I’ll Keep Asking for More, So Give In Now

A good way to view this tactic is “piling on;” when negotiators just continue to make greater and greater demands until the weight of these demands becomes almost unbearable, and you get the feeling that you might as well give in while you’re ahead.

How to Respond?

  • Don’t do it.
  • Remind the other party that a negotiation is a give and take process.
  • Be prepared to tell them that if they won’t reciprocate with a reasonable counter offers, you’re willing to take your business somewhere else.

Understanding negotiation tactics examples can be much like knowing the secret to a Three Card Monte street hustle. You can still be impressed by the skill of the trickster, but you can always end up with the ace.

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