How to Overcome the Top Ten Negotiating Tactics

Everyone uses negotiation tactics to get what they want, whether they’re haggling over the price of an item in a garage sale or discussing potential salary with a future employer. Most of the time, when you enter a negotiating situation you can expect the other party to use certain maneuvers to tip the scales in their favor. For example, you can expect a potential employer to offer you less money than they are actually willing to pay to give themselves negotiating room. And a buyer will usually act surprised at your stated price, no matter how reasonable it may be, to pressure you into lowering it.

Everyone uses these tactics, but that doesn’t mean that negotiations can’t be fair. Some tactics are acceptable, while others are downright sleazy. Tactics are part of the process, and you can use them and still maintain your negotiations on an honest level. In other words, the use of tactics doesn’t necessarily mean tricking or manipulating people.

Some tactics are simply tools to expedite the negotiation process; others are used to take advantage of the other person. To be successful in sales and business, you must be able to differentiate between the fair and unfair negotiation tactics so you can use the good ones to your advantage and deflect the questionable ones. Consider the following ten negotiation tactics and the methods you can use to deflect them:

Tactic #1: The Wince

The wince can be explained as any overt negative reaction to someone’s offer. For example, you might act stunned or surprised when your negotiating counterpart names their terms. This tactic tells your counterpart that you know your limits, which isn’t under-handed or dishonest. And wincing at the right time can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Keep in mind that when deals are negotiable, your counterpart will start high.

Of course, you won’t always be the wincer. Many times, especially in the sales profession, you’ll be on the receiving end of the wince. In this case, you can counter with the next tactic.

Tactic #2: Silence

In the negotiation process, silence can be your strongest tool. If you don’t like what your counterpart has said, or if you’ve made an offer and you’re waiting for a response, just sit back and wait. Most people feel uncomfortable when conversation ceases, and they start talking automatically to fill the void. Almost without fail, your counterpart will start whittling away his or her position when you use this tactic.

So what if you find yourself negotiating with a person who understands the importance of silence as well as you? Rather than wasting time in silence, restate your offer. Don’t make suggestions; just repeat your terms. This maneuver forces the other person to respond, and more often than not, they respond with a concession.

Tactic #3: The Good Guy/Bad Guy Routine

This sleazy tactic is often used in movies, where two detectives are interrogating a person who’s just been arrested. One detective seems unreasonable and inflexible, while the other tries to make it look like he or she is on the suspect’s side. This tactic is designed to get you to make concessions without the other side making any in return.

If you find yourself in a good guy/bad guy situation, the best response is to ignore it. Recognize this game for what it is, but don’t play along and don’t allow the good guy to influence your decision. The best technique is to let your counterparts play their game, while you watch out for your own interests.

Tactic #4: Limited Authority

This tactic is a variation on the good guy/bad guy routine, but instead of two people working over you, the one person you’re dealing with tells you that he or she must approve any deals with an unseen higher authority. Sometimes, this higher authority exists, but other times your counterpart will create this figure to gain an edge in the negotiation process.

So just because your counterpart tells you, “It’s out of my hands,” don’t automatically assume the person is being honest. In this type of situation, two options exist: one, ask to deal directly with this so-called higher authority; or two, test the limits of your counterpart. You may find that although the other person has used this tactic to force you into backing down, if you keep at him or her, you may get what you want.

Tactic #5: The Red Herring

This technique comes from fox hunting competitions, where one team drags a dead fish across the fox’s path to distract the other team’s dogs. At the bargaining table, a red herring means one side brings up a minor point to distract the other side from the main issue. Effective and ethical negotiators generally agree that this tactic is the sleaziest of them all.

When your negotiation process is bogged down with a minor problem, and your counterpart insists on settling it before they’ll even talk about more important issues, then you are probably dealing with a red herring. In this case, use extreme caution, and suggest setting the issue aside temporarily to work out other details.

Tactic #6: The Trial Balloon

Trial balloons are questions designed to assess your negotiating counterpart’s position without giving any clues about your plans. For example, you may ask your counterpart, “Would you consider trying our services on a temporary basis?” or “Have you considered our other service plans?” Essentially, these types of questions put the ball in your counterpart’s court, and the nice part about them is they aren’t really offers. They allow you to gain information without making a commitment.

When you’re on the receiving end of a trial balloon question, you may feel compelled to answer it thoroughly. To maintain your edge, resist this temptation and counter with another question. For example, if someone asks, “Would you consider financing the house yourself?” respond, “Well, if I did, what would your offer be?”

Tactic #7: Low-Balling

Low-balling is the opposite of the trial balloon. Instead of tempting you to make the first offer, your counterpart will open the process with a fantastic offer. Then after you agree, they start hitting you with additional necessities.

For example, say you see an ad for a product priced lower than other stores. But then after you agree to buy, the sales representative uncovers the hidden costs, such as shipping or installation. In the end you probably pay more than you would have at another store listing a higher price on the product. To avoid falling victim to this tactic, ask your counterpart about additional costs before agreeing to any deal.

Tactic #8: The Bait-and-Switch

Similar to low-balling, the bait-and-switch tactic should be avoided. Your counterpart may try to attract your interests with one great offer, but then hook you with another mediocre one. This tactic will almost always burn you, unless you can recognize it. If your counterpart were really able to offer a genuinely good deal, they wouldn’t have to resort to bait-and-switch.

Tactic #9: Outrageous Behavior

Outrageous behavior can be categorized as any form of socially unacceptable conduct intended to force the other side to make a move, such as throwing a fit of anger or bursting into tears. As most people feel uncomfortable in these situations, they may reduce their negotiating terms just to avoid them.

However, the most effective response to outrageous behavior is none at all. Just wait for the fit to die down before reacting, because emotional negotiations can result in disaster.

Tactic #10: The Written Word

When terms of a deal are written out, they often seem non-negotiable. For example, when was the last time you negotiated a lease, or a loan, or even a service contract that was typed up in advance in an official-looking document? You probably assumed these deals were non-negotiable, and for some reason most people make the same mistake of accepting terms that appear in writing.

The best defense against this tactic is simply to question everything, whether it appears in writing or not. You’ll inevitably run into some standard, non-negotiable documents, but it never hurts to ask questions. You may be surprised how many contracts actually are negotiable when challenged.

Better Negotiations in the Future

People have used these ten negotiation tactics for years, but that doesn’t mean they are always fair. So before you rush into your next negotiation situation, make yourself aware of these tactics and how they affect the process. When you learn the uses and defenses of these negotiation techniques, you can reach more mutually beneficial agreements and win more sales on better terms.

Biography

Add Value in the Perception, the Package, and the Presentation

What would the world do if it wasn’t for “buzz words” – those sort of “shorthand” words that denote much a much larger meaning condensed into a short phrase or singular word. Somehow we all know the meaning of these words and phrases in their larger context or sort of know the meaning of them. One such “buzz word” is “Value Added.”

I have heard this used time and time again but wonder what people mean when they say it or what they understand when they hear it and nod knowingly. I take it to mean “adding something of value to a product or service to differentiate it from other, similar or even identical, products or services.” So, how does a business add value to a product or service to separate it from the pack and make it more desirable?

Many books have been written on this fascinating topic so in the short space of this column we’ll just be touching on the subject of adding value. It’s all about changing the buyer’s perception of value. In other words, giving the purchaser something they feel has value without adding substantially to the cost or lowering (gasp!) your prices. It could be the manner in which people are treated in person, on the telephone, or in written communications – friendliness and pleasant surroundings adds value. It could be in the package such as an attractive report cover, sturdy shopping bag, or careful packaging of a fragile item. Added value can be perceived from your integrity and policies – guarantees, the manner in which returns are handled, and convenience factors like extended hours or reminder services. Value can be added in the manner products or services are presented such as the way wine is presented with grace and showmanship at a fine restaurant or the way a hair stylist positions you to look in the mirror when finished cutting your hair.

When I hear someone tell me they sell a commodity, I pull out my buzzword and ask, “What are you doing to deliver a “Value Added” experience? I’ll ask the same question of you!

Debt Counseling Presents A Systematic Method Of Clearing Debt Load

It was my wife who first introduced me to debt counseling and I thought it would be just another agony uncle whom I would have to deal with. However, it was not late that I was proved wrong. It was through debt counseling that I survived the deadly debts to recount its benefits.

Debt counseling is the advice offered through experts on several debt related issues. Debt counseling has a two-pronged strategy. While the advice focuses on ways to counter the current debt load, the borrower will also be informed of methods to prevent debts from originating. Thus, debt counseling plays defensive as well as a preventive role.

The defensive strategy will be employed for situations where the debt load is sufficiently large. In my case, the debt load was substantially large. My personal savings and monthly income would have lessened the burden a little. But, there were other expenses too that needed to be paid through the same limited income. By channeling my income towards debt settlement, I would only have paved way for newer debts.

Debt counseling showed the way out. Large number of people in the UK owe their freedom from debts to debt counseling. In fact, the very first lesson that I learnt from debt counseling is that I was not the only person who had debts. There were many others who have even messier finances. The statistics are really appalling. How come so many people, belonging to so rich a country as the UK, be so vulnerable to debts? However, people do incur debts. A desire to have almost every material comforts, often pushes people to spend rashly. On most occasions, the expenditure is without any consideration for the sources of payment.

However, as the pressure of the creditors mounts, the very first priority of debt counseling will be to design a way out for the debtors. Presently, there are a number of debt elimination options available in the UK, namely debt consolidation loans, debt consolidation mortgages, debt consolidation through remortgage, home equity loans and credit cards. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it will be really difficult to make a choice for one of these. Through debt counseling, borrowers can also get help during the product selection process.

Since I had a large debt load, the debt counselors suggested that I take up a debt consolidation loan. They did not force the product on me. This is one of the peculiarities of debt counseling. The debt counselor presents an impartial view of the various products. However, not all debt counselors adopt a similar view. Most of them will sell their products in the guise of debt advice. Borrowers need to stay clear of such advisors. As in medical sciences, second opinion is always beneficial during selection of debt settlement products. There are a large number of profit and non-profit agencies and individuals who provide genuine and professional advice. Some of these, like Independent Financial Advisors are bound by the rules laid down by the Financial Services Authority to offer genuine advice.

The preventive role of debt counseling is more of an advisory nature. The aim of this exercise will be to instill debt sense in the people; though this will prove a Herculean task, given the strange relationship of people with debts. The role may take the form of a face-to-face meeting with an individual, or a conference wherein a number of people are addressed at one time.

During these sessions, the debt counselor advises borrowers of ways to deal with debts. Debt consolidation loans and debt consolidation mortgages can at the best relieve individuals of debts for sometime. However, if the individual does not improve his spending habits, he will again have a large debt load. Through preventive debt counseling, the debt counselor aims to strike at the roots of the debt.

Some of the principal debt counseling tips include:

Do not spend more than what you earn.
If the expenditure is necessary, then a provision needs to be made for its payment.
Every individual must prepare a priority list showing the importance of each expenditure.
Try to generate newer sources of income.
If a debt has been incurred, then it must be repaid with priority.
Preventive debt counseling tips are not new to people. They may have heard of them from their parents or recited them in moral science classes, but all these lessons vanish while spending. A workable debt counseling method must be practical enough to be implemented. The borrower’s finance needs to be studied exhaustively for finding an effective solution. No debt counseling is complete without the borrower’s participation. Consequently, borrowers need to tread safely on any debt decision that they make.