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November 13, 2014

The 5 Worst Negotiation Tactics and How to Avoid Them

Business

Jeff Cochran

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Of all the negotiation tactics used over the centuries, there are some that stick out as being particularly low-down and dirty. At Shapiro Negotiations, we offer negotiation training that focuses on productive and mutually beneficial tactics, but not all negotiators have the courage to negotiate with integrity. Knowing how to handle nasty tactics when you encounter them is vital for novice negotiators. Here are a few of the most common bad negotiation tactics and how to avoid them.

  1. Exaggerating future sales growth. Some negotiators, in an attempt to make their company more intimidating or more appealing for a partnership, will lie about their estimated future sales growth. The way to combat this is simple: do research. If you come prepared with copies of their past growth records, then you can nip this strategy in the bud.
  2. Pretending to back out. This is a somewhat childish but unfortunately still effective attempt to persuade other negotiators to cave to their demands. By making it seem like their company is no longer interested, negotiators hope to force opponents to offer better deals to bring them back to the table. Recognize this farce for what it is, and call the negotiator’s bluff. Retract your offers, and if his company is truly not interested, you can find better deals elsewhere.
  3. Withholding important information. Negotiations are most effective when everyone at the table has all of the information they need. If you are negotiating a corporate buyout, for example, you need to have all of the sales information for the company you are buying. If your fellow negotiator withholds that information or other important documents, you may end up making a bad deal. Do not be afraid to be direct with your questions, and accept nothing less than a straight and complete answer.
  4. Faking offense at typical questions. When you ask direct questions about a company’s finances or sales success, your opponent may act offended and insulted. In all likelihood, he or she is simply trying to avoid answering the question. With the right corporate sales training, negotiators should be prepared for all business-related questions, and if someone takes pains to avoid giving an answer, you should be wary of them.
  5. Demanding last minute changes. Do not give in to last minute demands; they are often nothing more than a ploy to take advantage of your surprise. When you have settled the stipulations of an agreement, stick to them and do not change them just to keep the other negotiator in the game. If the other company is successful in making minute demands before entering into an agreement, then they will try to take advantage of your company again in the future.
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