Business Skills

Negotiation Skills: The Top 20 Negotiation Tactics

Negotiation skills

1. Control the Agenda: This is how you will control what will be discussed. Say how you will behave, and how you expect them to behave. Set up some standards both of your will follow. Give out deadlines.


2. The Stock Market Rule: The smart get in first and get out first. For example, explain the urgency of the situation - 'If we don't act now...' Or, the bad publicity you both will get if this doesn't happen soon.


3. The Communist Salami Method: Taking something bit by bit till the whole is acquired.


4. The AIKIDO method: Use this technique and turn the opponent’s strength/force back. 'You yourself said you liked...'


5. Feinting: Look to the right, go to the left.


6. Positive Aggression: Turn the question around logically. If the other party says, 'So what are you selling?' Reply 'There must be some mistake. I thought you were buying'


7. Five 'concession patterns': In extended negotiations over price, be careful that you don't set up a pattern in the way that you make concessions.


The way that you make concessions (E.g. You keep reducing the price by $10 each time) can create a pattern of expectations in the other person's mind.


Don't make equal size concessions because the other side will keep on pushing.


Don't make your last concession a big one because it creates hostility.


Never concede your entire negotiating range just because the other person calls for your 'last and final' proposal or claims that he or she 'doesn't like to negotiate.'


Slowly reduce the concessions to communicate that the other side is getting the best possible deal.


8. Nibble: If you don't feel you're getting enough out of a negotiation, nibble for more 'at the end', when the opposing party is feeling good (now that 'it is all over'.)


9. Cherry Picking: Aka 'suppressing evidence', or the fallacy of incomplete evidence/selective attention, is when we point to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.

It is a kind of fallacy of selective attention, the most common example of which is the confirmation bias


10. Salami tactics: Aka 'salami-slice strategy' - a 'divide and conquer' process of threats and alliances used to overcome opposition. The opposition's position is eliminated 'slice by slice' until one realizes (too late) that it's gone in its entirety. In some cases it may involve causing dissent in the other party's ranks. Obviously, it is an aggressive negotiation tactic.


This tactic is is also known as a 'piecemeal strategy'. In business, sellers of 'cut price' products/services will often raise prices on other stuff bit by bit – e.g. budget airlines keep increasing and offloading costs of inflight food ad stuff all the time.


11. Tit for Tat: If you see negotiation as a game, then,

If you move first, cooperate.

If you move second, reciprocate (if the other party cooperates, respond cooperatively; if the other party competes, respond competitively).

Communicate your reciprocal move clearly; do not get 'cute.'


12. Prisoner's dilemma: This is based on whether people can be naturally cooperative, or whether our individual genes make us give a selfish response to real-life situation.


Two men are arrested, but the police do not possess enough information for a conviction. The police offer both captured men a similar deal - if one testifies against his partner (defects/betrays), and the other remains silent (cooperates/assists), the betrayer goes free and the one that remains silent receives the full one-year sentence. If both remain silent, both are sentenced to only one month in jail for a minor charge. If each 'rats out' the other, each receives a three-month sentence. Each prisoner must choose either to betray or remain silent; the decision of each is kept quiet. What should they do?


If each player is only concerned with shortening his time in jail, the game becomes a non-zero sum game where the two players may either assist or betray the other.


13. Dry Well/Empty pockets: Show you've nothing left to exchange., or, you just can't afford it.


14. Withdrawing the offer: Use it only on someone who keeps the negotiation going on and on. is grinding away on you. You can also either withdraw the offer completely, or withdraw the 'specials' - special prices on certain items. But, try to put yourself on the other party's side, and blame it on some higher authority/unavoidable circumstances.


15 Log-rolling: Where you concede on low-priority items, making yourself appear 'magnanimous'.


16. Padding: Make unimportant things 'essential' and then concede them.


17. Split the difference: Offer to agree on a half-way position.


18. Take it or leave it: Give them only one option.


19. Auction & Better offers: Get other party/ies competing against one another, like they are in a market. Or, let the other party know you have a better offer.


20. Phasing: Offer to phase in/out the unpleasant bits of the deal.


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