Tactics are always an important part of the negotiating process. More often they are subtle difficult to identify and used for multiple purposes.
Tactics are more frequently used in distributive negotiations and when the focus is on taking as much value of the tables as possible. Many negotiation tactics exist. Few commonly used tactics are listed below:
1. Auction: The bidding process is designed to create competition. When multiple parties want the same thing, put them against one another. When people know that they may lose out on something, they want it even more.
Not only do they want the thing that is being bid on, they also want to win, just to win. Taking advantage of someone’s competitive nature can drive up the price.
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2. Brinkmanship: One party aggressively pursues a set of terms to the point where the other negotiating party must either agree or walk away. Brinkmanship is a type of “hard nut” approach to bargaining in which one party pushes the other party to the “brink” or edge of what that party is willing to accommodate.
Successful brinkmanship convinces the other party they have no choice but to accept the offer and there is no acceptable alternative to the proposed agreement.
3. Bogey: Negotiators use the bogey tactic to pretend that an issue of little or no importance is very important. Then, later in the negotiation, the issue can be traded for a major concession of actual importance.
4. Chicken: Negotiators propose extreme measures, often bluffs, to force the other party to chicken out and give them what they want. This tactic can be dangerous when parties are unwilling to back down and go through with the extreme measures.
5. Flinch: Flinching is showing a strong negative physical reaction to a proposal. Common examples of flinching are gasping for air, or a visible expression of surprise or shock. The flinch can be done consciously or unconsciously.
The flinch signals to the opposite party that you think the offer or proposal is absurd in hope the other party will lower their aspirations. Seeing a physical reaction is more believable than hearing someone saying, “I’m shocked”.
6. Defence in Depth: Several layers of decision-making authority is used to allow further concessions each time the agreement goes through a different level of authority. In other words, each time the offer goes to a decision maker, that decision maker asks to add another concession to close the deal.
7. Good Guy/Bad Guy: The good guy/bad guy approach is typically used in team negotiations where one member of the team makes extreme or unreasonable demands, and the other offers a more rational approach. This tactic is named after a police interrogation technique often portrayed in the media.
The good guy appears more reasonable and understanding, and therefore, easier to work with. In essence, it is using the law of relativity to attract cooperation. The “good guy” appears more agreeable relative than the “bad guy”.
8. High Ball/Low Ball: Depending on whether selling or buying sellers or buyers use a ridiculously high, or ridiculously low opening offer that is not achievable. The theory is that the extreme offer makes the other party re-evaluate their own opening offer and move close to the resistance point (as far as you are willing to go to reach an agreement).
Another advantage is that the party giving the extreme demand appears more flexible when they make concessions toward a more reasonable outcome. A danger of this tactic the opposite party may think negotiating is a waste of time.
9. The Nibble: Nibbling is asking for proportionally small concessions haven’t been discussed previously just before closing the deal. This met takes advantage of the other party’s desire to close by adding “Just one mom thing.
10. Deadlines: Another tactic is to give the other party a deadline forcing them to make a decision. This method uses time to apply pressure on the other party. Deadlines given can be actual or artificial.
11. Snow Job: Negotiation overwhelms the other party with so much information that they have difficulty determining what information is important, and what a diversion is. Negotiators may also use technical language or jargon to mask a simple answer to a question asked by a non-expert.
12. Scooting: A tactic of lowering one’s voice to create a position of power is another way of negotiating with each other.
13. Mirroring: When people get on well, the outcome of a negotiation is likely to be more positive. To create trust and a rapport, a negotiator may mimic mirror the opponent’s behavior and repeat what they say.
Mirroring refers to a person repeating the core content of what another person just said, or repeating certain expressions. It indicates attention to the subject of negotiation and acknowledges the other party’s point or statement. Mirroring can help create trust and establish a relationship.