Guest Blog: Vital counters of manipulative and non-manipulative negotiation tactics

Negotiations are vital for both our personal and professional affairs. Learning how to combine the needs and wants of an opponent, and build a mutually-favorable agreement is the solution to a healthy life and a fruitful business relationship. Believe it or not, negotiations make us more effective and they help us stay competitive. That competitive spirit must not be confused with aggressiveness or manipulative negotiation techniques.

In business, a controlling attitude can be extremely intimidating for a counterpart. Not being able to speak your mind or not having the right to state your point of view often leads to conflictual situations. Three of the most famous manipulative tactics used in business negotiations are:

  • “The Negotiation Decoy” Tactic

The negotiation decoy is an extremely famous manipulative tactic because it is based on the main question: how is it possible to know if an opponent is being honest when divulging their interests? Is he looking for a mutually-favorable agreement or his only intention is to rip you off? It’s never a good idea to have complete faith in a business partner, and prior to agreeing with what they’re saying, check every claim they’re making.

Choose to safeguard yourself from a potential attack and be prepared for the unexpected. Predicting a bad negotiation outcome is yet another way of putting an end to the “negotiation decoy” tactic. Although you can’t always spot a sneaky deal, it’s an excellent idea to learn from every mistake you make. Hone your negotiation senses through intense practice. Learn more about body language and its roles in negotiation for example, or find out more about counteroffers. Negotiations should never be used with a manipulative purpose because at some point they might turn against you.

  • “The Deadlines” Tactic

“Negotiation deadlines” is a tactic that forces parties into making choices. They may be triggered by circumstance, or they can be followed by consequence. In special cases, the strategy is used to force the hand of a partner and deprive him of enough time to prepare his negotiation. Business people are used to putting a lot of pressure on their opponents. In this case, you might hear an allegation that sounds like this: “if you miss any deadline the whole deal is off. Are you up for the challenge? We can always renegotiate the deal and settle on a more flexible deadline; but we have to do it fast”. Persuasion is an excellent negotiation tactic, but it should never be used with a manipulative purpose.

  • “The Take It or Leave It” Tactic

The “take it or leave it” strategy is confrontational, and often hostile. It’s vital for a negotiator to focus on concerns hidden behind stipulations. Afterwards, it’s best to work with the opponent and together come up with mutually-favorable options. Finding common ground is a much better strategy than threatening a business associate that you’ll leave the table if he doesn’t agree with your terms.

Negotiations don’t have to be manipulative. Why should trick an opponent into agreeing to a bad deal when you can be honest and maintain a good business reputation? Nowadays, doing business is all about making connections too. You may not realize it but a win-win solution can have advantages too. Some of the best non-manipulative negotiation tactics are:

“The Win-Win Solution” Tactic

This strategy is already famous among business people willing to make reasonable concessions and agree on mutually-favorable deals. Why should you agree to a “win-win solution”? Because a cooperation of this kind can benefit you in the long term; it can create a closer relationship with the other negotiator, a relation that might result in a future cooperation, and eventually in a friendship you have to respect and cherish if you want results.

“The Willingness to Walk Away” Tactic

This strategy is included in the non-manipulative category; however, for best results it must be used wisely. The willingness to walk away from the negotiation table should be used as a strategy when the other party won’t agree to your terms. Stubborn negotiators are aggressive; yet, if they want the product or service that you’re offering, they will use every trick in the book to persuade you to lower the price. Never back down, and if they’re not agreeing to your terms, it’s best to pack your bags and walk away, no questions asked. In a few days they’ll call you agreeing to your claim that’s for sure.

As you can see, negotiations are both manipulative and non-manipulative. While some strategies have proven quite effectives, others are have only managed to show us that negotiations can’t be successfully attained using aggressive persuasion techniques. Think in the best interest of your company, and if a win-win deal looks valuable, don’t think twice and take it. Rather than struggle for nothing, it’s always nice to feel that you’re getting something in return.