I like movies. I especially like police movies. I’m guessing that one of the reasons that I like movies with police in them so much is because it’s almost a given that sometime during the movie the police heroes will resort to using the “Good Cop / Bad Cop” negotiating tactic. Every sales negotiator out there should be smiling right about now…
I guess I should take just a moment and make sure that we’re all on the same page here. The Good Cop / Bad Cop tactic is a decoy tactic and here’s how it works. The other side has at least two people. One takes a hard line and makes unreasonable demands on you. He / she also appears to be unyielding – you’ll get no concessions from them. The other person is much nicer. He / she is willing to be your friend, is a little embarrassed about his / her partner’s hard stand, and just wants to work with you to reach a deal.
Umm, the key thing to realize here is that you’re being presented with a show: both of these people are working together. They hoping to get as much out of you as possible. The goal is to get you to believe that you were lucky to get as much as you did considering just how tough the “bad cop” was.
So what’s a sales negotiator to do when you come up against a good cop / bad cop team? There are some simple ways to deal with the bad cop:
- Let the bad cop talk and talk. In many cases his / her own side of the table will end up getting fed up with them.
- Hit the big red button and complain to your / their higher authority.
- Leave! (This always gets their attention)
- Turn the tables and in public put the blame on the other side of the table for the failure to make more progress in the negotiations.
- Bring your own good cop / bad cop to the table.
Have you ever encountered a good cop / bad cop team when you’ve been negotiating a sale? How bad was the bad cop? How good was the good cop? How did you counter this tactic? Did the tactic work on you? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.