Negotiation Tactics

31.08.2017 |

Episode #7 of the course Negotiation skills by Chris Croft


There are all sorts of negotiation tactics that have been devised over the years, and here is a list of the top 5, both for you to use and for you to look out for in case they are used on you!


The Vice

First is an very easy tactic to use if you’re buying: the Vice. Whatever they offer, you come back with, “You’ll have to do better than that.” Then, whatever improvement they offer, you can keep saying, “That’s still not enough.” If they open first with an offer of, say, money off, or if they concede unilaterally at any point and offer you a discount, they are just asking for the Vice!

If you are selling and the Vice is used on you—e.g. “You’ll have to give me more money off than that”—the answer is to say, “How much exactly?” This is a great answer because it forces them to quote a number, which stops you sliding down forever.


Reluctant Buyer

This tactic is where buyers claim that they don’t really want to buy something unless the price is temptingly great—for example: It’s not quite right for them, the timing isn’t right, they don’t even really want it at all, etc. If anyone says that they aren’t keen to buy, always start by thinking it could be just a tactic. After all, they’re there, aren’t they? Remain strong and stick to your price, or concede only small amounts.


Knocking the Product

My third tactic, which goes well with Reluctant Buyer, is Knocking the Product—this is where the buyers complain that the car has a tiny dent or it’s a bit old or the engine is too small. The answer to this is to say, “That’s already reflected in the price,” or, “That’s why the price is so reasonable.” It’s a very commonly used tactic, so look out for it, and always assume that it’s just a tactic and they are very keen to buy your already-reasonably-priced car.


The Salami

Fourth is the Salami, which is quite a sophisticated tactic where the buyer or seller asks for many concessions in many areas all at once. For example, they might say, “I need it quicker, I want it in blue, it needs special packaging, and it’s got to be a bit cheaper.” If you concede two of these, but not the other two, they will say, “Thanks, but I still need …” and push for the others.

The way to defend yourself against the Salami-slicer is to say, “If you want that (extra slice), then you’ll have to give back (one of your previous slices).” For example: “If you still want it in blue, then we can’t give you that short lead time we agreed to just now.” This stops the nibbling process dead in its tracks!


“Important Is Not Important, and Not Important Is Important”

Finally, Tactic 5 is to hide what’s valuable. If you desperately need quick delivery, don’t immediately wade in with, “I need quick delivery,” or even, “How soon can I have delivery?” Just casually mention it later in the conversation: “By the way, what’s the delivery time on this?” And if you are buying a car and you don’t care about whether you get a sunroof, keep saying that you MUST have a sunroof, and then later (in exchange for quite a lot of money off), you can reluctantly trade away the sunroof that you never wanted in the first place. And if the other party places a great deal of emphasis on something or is very casual about something, always bear in mind that they may not really want the emphasized thing and they might REALLY want the thing they are casual about.

So, which of these tactics could you use on the negotiations you’re thinking about? And which ones do you think you might have fallen victim to in the past (but never again!)?

See you again tomorrow for Lesson 8, when you will discover the three things to look out for at the final stages of any negotiation.

Bye for now!



Recommended book

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Keith Ferrazzi and Mark Goulston M.D.


Share with friends