How To Respond To 16 Common Negotiation Tactics

BY Jessica Helinski
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Few sales are won without negotiation. Sometimes, it’s an easy collaboration between seller and buyer that benefits both parties. Other times, buyers play hardball, using tough tactics that can throw off a seller. “Even if you, as the seller, have a win-​win mindset and approach, you need to know how to maneuver the situation when buyers throw you curveballs,” warns RAIN Group’s president Mike Schultz.

There are ways that you can effectively respond to these negotiation tactics, and Schultz highlights 16 common ones. He deciphers what each likely means, as well as how you should respond. Below, is just one example from his article: 

Tactic: Going, going, gone. The prospect reports that he or she is in talks with a competitor and asking for the same deal. 

What it means:  This is likely a way for the buyer to stall for time, as well as let you know that you’re not the only vendor in town. 

How to respond: You first need to decide if the buyer is bluffing or telling the truth. While they could be talking with the competition, they may know that your offering holds more value. More often than not, using this tactic is little more than posturing. “Avoid conceding too much just to make a deal by keeping your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) in mind,” Schultz recommends. “If you find you're talking in circles with a prospective buyer, consider making a Best and Final Offer, which may include one further value add or a concession.” Don’t be afraid to walk away, either; it’s better to leave a deal than agree to something that’s not in your best interest. 

As you read through all 16 tactics, you’ll likely come across a few that you’ve already encountered. Did your responses match up with what Schultz suggests? Are there are any tactics that you think should be handled differently? Finally, think about how you can prepare yourself for the next time a prospect is ready to play hardball.