5 Negotiation Tactics That Will Help You to Get a Better Deal

Don’t Be a Shark

Good Negotiation Tactics Are Built on Honesty and Openness

We watch The Apprentice and see the ‘lambs to the slaughter’ negotiating. Not helped by their bravado and arrogance, ‘I’m a shark in business’. Cue the next clip of the poor Apprentice being taken limb from limb by a shopkeeper who won’t give him 5p off of a bottle of champagne! Negotiating looks hard and can be hard if you do it wrong. Let’s dispel the first myth. Banging your fist on the table, looking mean, and being tough doesn’t work. It is not a good negotiation tactic. You might be lucky and get it to work once, but after that, they’ll get wise to you and take a whole other approach.

After 14 years of teaching negotiation skills, I find those that can employ honest, open and direct negotiation tactics get the best deals where a relationship is of importance. If you are negotiating to buy a second-hand car on the forecourt I’d advise adapting your tactics, style and technique. For now, however, let’s stick with the relationship important deals.

1. Be Like Captain Scott

Employ the Negotiation Tactic of Exploration

Prepare a list of questions to ask your ‘opponent’. Get into their head and swim around. Ask as many open questions as you can to understand what they want, their situation, and their needs. Asking is not confirming that you can do it. You are just exploring.

2. Be Like the UN

Build Relationships

In the ‘6 Sciences of Persuasion’ video, we are told that people who have something in common are twice as likely to reach an agreement. Plus, their outcomes are worth 80% more. Therefore, use personal information about yourself as a negotiation tactic; where you have lived, worked, hobbies, and see what happens.

Take a look at the video below:

3. Be Like Fagin

Give Nothing

There is a rule in negotiating. No free fish. Imagine a polar bear chasing an Eskimo’s husky-led sleigh of fresh fish. The Eskimo throws the polar bear a fish to keep him happy. The polar bear eats it and thinks, I know where there is more. Do not give away anything unless you get something in return.

4. Be Like an Olympic Runner


Most people hate role-playing. Instead, bring yourself and do the deal with a colleague. You’ll always find that they will ask you questions that you hadn’t thought of and put you in corners you didn’t know existed. If you want a better deal don’t leave it to chance. Employ the negotiation tactic of practice and get a better deal.

Olympic runner crouching in readiness at the starting line

Be Like an Olympic Runner – Practice

5. Be Like a Court Reporter

Maximise Your Negotiation Tactics by Summarising

Many deals get agreed and then fall apart afterwards. These deals are the worst because both parties thought that they were happy and then afterwards they resort to phone calls and emails to try to sort what they thought they had. Failure to summarise the negotiation can nullify any other tactics you employ. Always summarise with the person you are negotiating the deal with. Furthermore, make sure you include all of the details.

Further Negotiation Tips

Take a look at my article for HR Magazine where I share Three Tips for Negotiating.

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