No one will really negotiate with you unless they believe that
you can either help them or hurt them and that you probably will.
They may go through the motions for politeness sake, but they will
not make a real effort to change their package, proposition or
position, to meet your needs unless they perceive that it's to
their advantage to do so.
Negotiation tactics are rarely thought out in advance. They are
ordinary pieces of human behaviour which in the past have worked
and which are mostly applied unconsciously. When someone uses
tactics against you successfully you are responsible for
reinforcing their belief that their behaviour works and therefore
you are in part responsible for the tactics.
Take the tactics that children use against parents. If having a
tantrum at the supermarket checkout got the child a Mars bar last
time do you think they will try a new tactic next time? Unlikely! -
people continue to do what works. They will continue to do it until
it doesn't work - then they will try a new strategy. If you
want to change the strategies of the people you deal with, make
sure that you do not reinforce the unacceptable strategies they are
now using. This applies to unions, competitors, customers, clients,
bosses or subordinates and anybody else you deal with.
To change some of the tactics used against you, you must first
identify them. Often all that is required is a change of attitude
or belief on your part. The next time you purchase something
expensive that you really need, try this mental reframe and see if
it alters the perceived power balance. Go in with the firm belief
that you are selling money rather than buying goods and that you
will sell to the highest bidder or you may not sell your money at
all if an appropriate deal cannot be negotiated. Try this when you
next seek a loan or credit.
What about other tactics. The tactic of LEGITIMACY is worth
examining. On your next business trip you will come across numerous
signs, rules and notices. Let us assume you step in to your new
Hertz car in a strange city. On a freeway you may come across a red
and white sign that says "WRONG WAY GO BACK". Most people
would take rather urgent action to comply. But what about the sign
in the hotel foyer that says "CHECK OUT TIME 11am". Has
it the same power to influence you. You may be surprised to know
that 95% of people comply without question even when their return
flight does not leave until 4pm.
Power lies in making distinctions. Just because you see a sign
or a "standard contract" do not assume that they all have
the same weight or consequences or that some satisfactory
alternative cannot be negotiated.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
We discuss whether certain clauses commonly found in ordinary commercial contracts could be considered to be penalties.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).