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Ray Makela

By: Ray Makela on April 19th, 2023

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3 Types of Negotiation Tactics, Strategy Examples, and How to Respond

Sales Process | Negotiating

Negotiation is an important skill to get what you want while building and maintaining trust in your relationships. Let's dive into three different negotiation tactics and look at some examples of how to respond to each tactic effectively.

Have you ever seen Star Wars?

In that series, "The Force" is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil, depending on who's using it and how. Similarly, different negotiation tactics can be used in different ways to help or harm a negotiation. Knowing how to use them effectively can make all the difference in getting a good outcome in a business deal rather than being taken advantage of by someone who knows how to manipulate the situation.

3 Types of Negotiation Tactics and How To Respond

#1 Collaborative Tactics

If you want to strengthen your relationship with your customers and reap long-term benefits, consider using collaborative sales negotiation tactics.

These tactics can help you reach mutually beneficial outcomes that enhance the value of the relationship. By working together with your customers, you can improve customer loyalty, encourage repeat business, and extend the duration of your engagement. This can ultimately lead to a higher lifetime value for both parties.

For your most important accounts, it's especially important to use collaborative negotiation tactics to build a strong foundation of trust and partnership.

Examples & Countermeasures

Tactic Definition Countermeasure
Trade-Off Exchanging options of
differential value and cost to
each party.
Stress the balance of value. Offset
offers with asks of equal or greater
value to you.
Trial Balloon Posing a hypothetical
option/approach to test the
other party's response. (E.g.
"What if..." or "Suppose I
could…")
Clarify the offer and level of
commitment. Avoid over/under
reaction without investigating
implications.
Shared Interests Reminding the other party of the
ways in which your interests
complement each other.
Be clear about where your interests
converge/diverge. Consistently
weigh the balance of value and cost to both parties.

 

#2 Neutral Tactics

Neutral tactics can work for or against you, depending on how you use them.

These tactics involve sharing information in a direct and honest way, without any hidden agenda or tricks up your sleeve. In some situations, this approach can help build trust and foster collaboration. But in other scenarios, it could be used to manipulate or deceive the other party.

Examples & Countermeasures

Tactic Definition Countermeasure
Deadline Incentivizing action by a certain
date. (E.g. This offer expires on
Friday.)
Question the validity of the deadline.
Stress the value of the deal, the
solution and the relationship over the
timeline.
Higher Authority Deferring the final authority to
make a decision or grant
approval to a third party
(someone generally not
present).
Express dissatisfaction with wasting
time with someone other than the
real decision-maker.
Budget Constraints Establishing a hard line about
budgetary limits.
Identify the interest behind the
budget constraint position. Use
variables (scale, timing,
customization, etc.) to create
solutions within the budget.

 

#3 Manipulative Tactics

Manipulative tactics are when one party takes advantage of or tricks the other party into conceding. It's best to steer clear of these tactics whenever possible since they can cause harm to relationships and lead to mistrust.

We've all probably come across manipulative tactics before, especially in places like used car lots with pushy salespeople or timeshare pitches. However, there are some methods that can be used in a collaborative manner, depending on the context.

Manipulative approaches are typically used when there is no value in establishing a long-term relationship, like in a one-time transaction. In these cases, the seller is mainly focused on closing the deal and may manipulate or deceive the buyer to get what they want. Unfortunately, this type of behavior isn't the foundation of a positive long-term business relationship.

Examples & Countermeasures

Tactic Definition Countermeasure
Future Promise The promise of future gain in
exchange for concessions in the
moment
Ask for documentation of any future
promises. Build terms into the
contract that provide advantages to
you if the promises are not kept.
Threats Making drastic ultimatums to
pressure concession.
Appeal to the importance of a fair
and reasonable process in order to
achieve shared interested
Expose Competitive
Information
Offering up a competitor's prices
and/or information in the hopes
of eliciting a better deal.
Know your competitors, stress the
unique benefits of your solution,
and return to your value proposition.

 

Conclusion

Not every negotiator (even in a business-to-business transaction) will approach the negotiation with a collaborative mindset. It’s important to be able to both recognize and deal with the manipulative tactics you encounter. We discuss dozens of these different methods in our Value-Driven Negotiation Workshop.

By learning to identify and name the appropriate tactic, you can begin to take away some of the power of that tactic. This also puts you in a better position to respond appropriately. Tactics can be used for good or evil, much like force.

💬 Join the Conversation

Have you ever come across any of these techniques? How did you handle it? Share your tips and experiences here.

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About Ray Makela

Ray Makela is the General Manager of the Sales Readiness Group, A Part of SBI. He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation, and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.