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November 23, 2018

Negotiating Tip 30: Disarming Your Opponent

Amazing results from such a simple technique.

When the hard bargaining begins both parties tend to ramp up their defenses.  Such actions make it doubly difficult for one party to gain the advantage.  What can you do to change these dynamics and, to some degree, disarm your opponent?

Who hasn't heard the saying, "Flattery will get you everywhere"?   It's likely your negotiating opponent is NOT expecting flattery when the negotiating gets intense.

Conveying a compliment, as we previewed in TIP 29, or some flattering statement is so unexpected that it has proven to be effective.

Now to be sure, we're not suggesting you compliment their attire or hairstyle.  Instead, the compliment has to deal with the bargaining process underway.  It is even more effective when it includes a hint of surrender (humility).

Think about it, a surrender style compliment just has to influence someone and cause them to soften their tactics and temper their hostility toward you.

So what can be said to make this all possible?  

Consider these suggestions:

"Wow, you're a great negotiator.  I can see that I'm overmatched here."

"Hey, go easy on me.  This type of bargaining is all new to me.  You're the obvious expert here."

"Forgive me for appearing defensive.  You need to know that you really intimidate me.  I suspect that this isn't your intent, but it is how I feel.  You just have more skill, more knowledge and more experience in bargaining situations like this."

"Can we strike a different tone for a moment?  Please know that all I want is a deal that would be a win for us both.  You obviously have more experience in such matters.  How can we make this a good deal for each of us?"

Many people feel that admitting a vulnerability is an unnecessary show of weakness.  On the contrary, admitting a vulnerability is a sign of strength, it builds trust and changes the dynamics. The objective is to get a good deal.  It is not to win the battle of words and posture.

Good negotiators have that special knack of being able to somewhat disarm their opponent by adopting a humble position in order to achieve that win-win result.   

It's all part of the game as we KEEP Negotiating.

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