Play “Hard Ball” with Competitive Negotiators


A vendor explained, “I have a customer who always insists on haggling over price.”

“How do you deal with that?” I asked.

“I simply add about ten percent at the beginning.  We exchange messages, do our little dance, and I agree to knock off eight or ten percent.  Eventually the customer agrees, with a sense of satisfaction I’m sure, gained from haranguing me into submission.”

After reviewing negotiation research, Georgetown University professor Jeremy Yip and others concluded that gratitude and forgiveness in competitive relationships can be costly.

As in the example above, aggressive stances with competitors are more beneficial. Understand there may be some unnecessary posturing and babbling.  It’s not personal.  Leave room for compromise.  Aggressors expect this.

Competitive negotiators will likely see grateful, cooperative negotiators as naive–opportunities to be plucked.  Cooperatives often get their feelings hurt and strive to avoid the sordid mess.  Many stalled negotiations are of this mix.

Whatever the approach, both parties must eventually see the final agreement as beneficial.  It is delusional for one party to see him/herself as smart enough, big enough or bad enough to consistently take advantage of another party.

 

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