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8 Killer Negotiation Tricks Clients Don’t Want You To Know

8 Killer Negotiation Tricks Clients Don’t Want You To Know

I have been writing about negotiation tricks for a while now. Well, this is the final nail.

Who isn’t trying to negotiate? As we speak, entrepreneurs are trying to convince investors, corporate giants are trying to convince their clients, and a dad somewhere is trying to get his son to do his homework — we negotiate every day! The aim of my series of posts is to explain certain negotiation tricks and techniques which have worked for me in dealing with people all over the world — across race, ethnicity, cultures, and ages.

Starting with the premise that everybody is a good guy and that at times it is important to say less and listen more, we discussed negotiation tricks such as using the Benjamin Franklin effect or the Foot in the Door technique and spoke about the ways you can frame a killer sales pitch. This is the last one in the series and what I believe will be the most actionable.

Here are 8 killer negotiation tricks which can give you an advantage in many scenarios. Use them with discretion — not all are applicable all the time. I will try to drop a hint on their applicability under each technique, but you remain the final authority when it comes to deciding on which one to use.

1. “I am not authorized to decide.”

When you are at the negotiation table, do not commit that you are the decisive authority even if you are. Leave room for people to think you can turn down even their best deal because there is someone else beyond you who will make the final call.

Why? Three reasons. One, it keeps your client on the edge and does not let him think he has “looped you in.” This slight uncertainty may lure him to make better offers. Two, it will give you time to think. You can walk out saying “I will get back to you as soon as possible,” and study the details carefully before making a final call. Three, If you did not like the deal, you can back down without being the bad guy.

You say something like this:

“Okay. Let me get back to you after discussing with my legal team about your offer. I will call you back.”

“Sorry son, I cannot decide on this. Your mother has the final say when it comes to desserts after dinner.”

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2. Company policy

When you do not accept a certain proposal, use the words “Company policy.” It is the truth and it diverts responsibility, making you sound innocent and helpless. Rules are made for a reason, so use them to your advantage.

“Sorry, I will need the 10% today if you want to seal this deal. It’s company policy. I cannot hold it for you otherwise.”

“I understand, but it’s against company policy to let you leave so early. It’s out of my hands, sorry.”

3. Pre-drafted deals

If I ask my wife “Do you want to go to that party?” she might refuse. If I ask her “So, when do we leave for that party?” She is more likely to tell me a time. The same question can be put across in two ways — one in your favor and the other against.

If I want you to accept a certain clause, I will put it in the contract and ask you to opt out of it if you wish to do so rather than to opt in.

Internet subscription forms often have a field at the bottom: “I want to Subscribe to the Newsletter” which is usually ticked for you. Since most internet users are highly reluctant to click off that button, they will leave it as is and keep getting junk mail for the rest of their lives! Know what I mean?

The same goes for your personal relationships. Frame your questions according to the answer you are looking for. These negotiation tricks often work like a charm.

Enough said — take the hint!

4. Always reject the first offer

As a rule of thumb, do not accept the first offer. It will most definitely favor the other side. Even if the first offer seems great, pause, think, and reluctantly refuse. Wait for the next one. If you are in a fixed price negotiation (as in there is only one offer — take it or leave it), try to get better sub-offers which are not necessarily economic benefits.

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For example, if they are selling you a holiday package and the company won’t budge on the price of the holidays, let them give you bonuses like additional nights, welcome drinks, chocolates, early check-ins, etc. You will be surprised by how many benefits are in the hands of the company executive without affecting their profits at all. Both of you walk out smiling. A perfect win-win, right?

That is what these negotiation tricks are aimed at — creating a win-win for both of you. If you manage to seal a substandard deal, thus cheating the other person, it will come back to bite you someday — you know where!

5. Biased choices

Everyone likes a multiple choice question. It reduces the options to a known minimum instead of requiring you to sift through an uncertain infinite number of options. You can easily lead the negotiation in your favor by introducing a certain finite number of choices, all of which are in your favor.

Think about these lines of conversation:

We have been to Thailand already. Let’s do Hong Kong, Macau, or Philippines this time. The choice is yours.”

“Sir, we are offering you a choice of colors between blue, azure, and white. All of these will cost you the same — please choose.”

“You can choose between paying today and getting that discount of 10% or paying next month but losing the discount.”

“Okay, son. Here are your choices: a day of voluntary service for my club, or help me out at home for two days.”

Negotiation tricks are all about techniques that play with the mind.

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6. Decide on the agenda

As long as you control the meeting or host it, you can control the agenda to benefit your cause. You may simply leave out certain topics from the agenda so that they never come up or place a certain topic for acceptance in the beginning (typically make it the second item, not the first, for maximum impact). If you chair the meeting, you can decide the flow of decisions by placing emphasis on certain topics more than others.

In an annual salary discussion meeting, if you are not keen on increasing salaries, start with:

“Today, we will first equate how our salaries are doing against other companies in the market and decide whether we need a hike.” (Given that your salaries are on par.)

or

“Let’s start with our profits during the last financial year before we discuss an increase in salaries.” (Given that the earnings have not been much.)

If you are in favor of increasing salaries, try the following:

“Let us start by telling you how our employees have benefitted this company over the last year. The accretion rate is high. Keep the people happy and they will bring more performers in.”

These negotiation tricks work like a charm in most corporate environments if you are calm, confident, and a good speaker.

7. Add a new person

Negotiations can get stalled. Let’s say you’ve discussed something with your team and they haven’t been able to come to a conclusion. Change one person in the team and ask them the start from the top. The new person must have decisive powers to change the course of the negotiation and rethink issues.

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The stalemate situation will get a fresh start.

8. Plant pseudo-clauses just to accept their refusal

This is one of those negotiation tricks which is often used in several professional deals and personal agreements. Simply introduce a clause which you really do not need but put it up as being very important. You will get shot down for sure, but then you will get an agreement on the important part.

I will need the full draft on my table by afternoon.” Wait for “How can I finish this by this afternoon?” and respond with “Okay, tomorrow morning then, and in that case, have it ready to be sent out by ten o’clock. Okay?”

If I accept this price for the car, you will give me first year’s insurance for free and alloy wheels with rear parking sensor fitted.” Wait for the rejection of the offer and respond with “Alright then, but I won’t leave without the insurance.”

The reception will be for two hundred and starters and beverages must be included in the price you have quoted. No beverages? Okay, two starters then.”

In each of the above statements, you knew that the other party would reject the added demands. You created those demands yourself knowing they would be shot down. Luckily, usually after refusing one thing, the other party is likely to budge on something else easily, thinking that you have already lost something you wanted.

Conclusion – The Killer Negotiator

These are a few of the many negotiation tricks up the sleeves of killer negotiators. However, I will repeat that ultimate mantra of negotiation one last time:

A good negotiator wins a deal, a killer negotiator creates a win-win!

As they say, do not try to grab the whole pie. Rather, make a way to inflate the pie so that both of you can have big and fair shares. Be honestly useful to your client (or your boss, your wife, or son — whatever the case may be) and they will never regret dealing with you! Stay tuned for my ebook on negotiation tricks, which will include comprehensive negotiation strategies.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

More by this author

Silence Can Solve Problems That Words Cannot Motivate ourselves Motivate Yourself: Three Tricks to Kick Your Own Ass 8 Killer Negotiation Tricks Clients Don’t Want You To Know Killer Negotiator 101 – Framing a Killer Sales Pitch Killer Negotiator 101 – Foot in the Door technique

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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