How To Get Tough In Your Next Negotiation

Sometimes tough is the way to go in a negotiation
Sometimes tough is the way to go in a negotiation
Image Credit: Nathan Rupert

“Would you just roll over and play dead for me please?” How many times have you wanted to say this to the other side of the table during a negotiation? Of course this rarely if ever happens. However, there are sometimes when something even worse happens – no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques you are using, the other side just flat out becomes unreasonable. When that happens, you are going to have to get tough.

Setting The Tone

Generally when the other side has become unreasonable, their tone has become rather nasty. What this means for you is that you need to respond in kind – feel free to adopt a nasty tone yourself. What you’ll be doing is sending them a message that you are not going to be taking their attitude lying down. Play by their rules and show them that you can be just as tough as they are.

Shut Up

When things start to turn nasty in a negotiation, it can be in your best interest to shut up. There’s not going to be a lot to be gained by having you do more talking at this point in time. Whichever side of the negotiations who starts to do more talking will quickly find themselves at a disadvantage. The reason for this is that more talking will cause that party to tip their hand to the other side. Shut up and make sure that this is not you!

Proper Concession Management

When things turn nasty in a negotiation, you are going to want to rethink your strategy for making concessions to the other side. What you are not going to want to do is to make any major concessions to them. This will be seen as rewarding their behavior. Instead, limit yourself to only making minor concessions. If you make any concessions, do so very slowly and reluctantly.

It’s Time To Aim High

When you are making an offer to the other side, you are going to want to aim high. Ask for everything that you want – don’t hold back. When the other side is being nasty, they’ll never give you what you want. What they’ll offer will be something less. If you make a mistake and aim too low and the other side accepts it then you’ll never be happy with the deal that you walk away with.

Make Sure That You Leave Room

In order to move the other side closer to the deal that you want even when things have turned nasty, you need to have made sure that you left enough room to maneuver. In order to get the deal that you want, you are going to have to have flexibility and leaving room will provide you with the flexibility that you’ll need. The more issues that you include in the negotiations, the better your chances are of creating a compromise that will work for both sides.

What All Of This Means For You

As a negotiator you need to have a collection of tools that you can use in a variety of different situations. One such situation is when the other side of the table turns unreasonable on you. In this situation, you are going to have to refuse to compromise – you’re going to have to get tough.

Getting tough can take on many different forms. During the principled negotiation you are going to have to set the tone and know when to shut up. Yes, you’ll still have to make concessions, but these will need to be carefully managed. As you negotiate you’ll need to leave room to get what you want.

The good news is that even when the other side of the table turns unreasonable, this does not mean that you’re not going to be able to reach a deal with them. Yes, it’s going to be hard, but if you know how to get tough with them, then you can still make this deal happen.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: When the other side becomes unreasonable, should you just stop making concessions?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In a negotiation if you want to be successful, you are going to have to quickly size up the other side of the table. There will be times that you discover that you are negotiating with someone who has decided to play it tough with you. Ok, there’s not that much that you can do about their decision. However, how you react to a tough negotiating opponent can have a big impact on how this negotiation turns out.

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