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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 March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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