The Power of Persuasion in Negotiation


It is always interesting to take a look at some of the ways negotiators go about their business. Before reading through some of the content that follows, it is important to note that it is regarded as of the utmost importance to use all methods of persuasion honestly and not with the sole purpose of benefiting yourself at the cost of others.

It is important to use all methods of persuasion and influence ethically. The use of these methods should create something of value to both sides in any interaction.

1. The Trade Off

Sales Person: “Those letter heads that you wanted to be delivered by the 20th, unfortunately we’ve had a problem. They will not be ready before the 30th. I’m very sorry, but I have done everything possible. I hope this is OK?”

The average consumer is likely to accept an excuse from a service provider. On the other hand, a skilled negotiator will see this as another moment of power to negotiate a concession. It stops a further process of “grinding down”.

Manager: “Well, that will pose a problem for me. We have a tight deadline. I’ll have to see what I can do to push out those deadlines or to find a work around. If I am able to come up with a work around, what will you do to ease my pain?”

Sales Person: “I don’t know.What if we run an extra 1000 copies at no cost?” (This “promise” could also be banked for future use).

2. Funny Money

Sales Person: “You’ve made a brilliant decision. Congratulations! I’ll write up the lease. By the way, before I do, do you know that for a mere £3 per day you could get the deluxe model. It’s really worth it. What do you think?”

Be careful of this one. You are about to spend thousands of pounds more than you intended. Negotiating with funny money works!

3. The Walk Away

Once a negotiator has decided that he or she absolutely must have something, a big erosion of power takes place. Know this, there are no once-in-a-lifetime deals. Do not become so emotionally involved that you cannot walk away. You only have real power if you are prepared to walk away.

4. Delaying & Stalling

When the other party deliberately uses delaying tactics you should not focus on the behaviour, but rather on the intention behind stalling. Do they want to wear you down to make you give up or become more flexible? Stay emotionally detached and make sure you do not have a deadline, especially not a self-imposed one. Counter this tactic by telling the other party you know what they are doing and that it will not work. You could also consider giving them a deadline that is well within the ultimate deadline you might have.

5. The Pre-Condition

This is where a negotiator obtains concessions for merely consenting to negotiate.

Purchaser: “If you give me the sole right to market your product we can talk, but only then.”

The unskilled negotiator may easily fall into the trap of limiting their options even before the negotiations start. Such a concession belongs in the bartering phase where a counter concession can be asked. Counter this by setting aside this issue for a while and just continuing with the negotiation.

6. Personal Attacks

Personal attacks are often a deliberate tactic to throw you off balance or to make you emotional. Watch out! Remain emotionally detached and recognise it as a tactic. Interrupt the pattern by smiling. Keep people and issues and people and their behaviour apart. You could also respond by reminding the other party that you together framed the negotiation as “agree-to-agree” and working towards a win more/win more outcome.

7. The Withdrawn Offer

This tactic can be used at any time in the negotiation, especially when the other party is deploying the walk away tactic. It involves a bluff by suggesting or threatening to take away agreements that have already been made. “I’m sorry, but my sales manager has just informed me that I misquoted the price. It is far too low. I’ll have to withdraw the offer.”

This could often result in a response such as this: “I’m sorry, it’s too late! We are accepting your offer!” The other party then reluctantly lets the item go. This results in one party feeling that they have secured a good deal. A good counter to this tactic is to walk away and test the validity thereof.

****To learn about the other 18 tactics that are available to you, see my article entitled “Did You Know: Negotiation is Pursuasion” on this website. OR EMAIL ME FOR FREE***

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