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.