The Guarantee
May 17

Countering Strategies for Negotiation

Editor Note: This is part one in a two-part series.

Negotiations occur several times throughout the day. They may not be as major as buying a new car or asking for a raise but they happen almost every time you interact with another person. Tom Parker of Yukon Training, describes a handful of the most used negotiation tactics. By understanding these “tricks of the trade,” and how to counter them, you can begin making better deals.

Nibbles: Ever heard, “give an inch, take a mile?” This tactic does just that. Nibbles occur as you are about to seal the deal and the other party begins asking for small concessions. “This comes with a 90-day warranty, right?” The first mistake, “Yes, sounds good.” Then they ask, “What about free shipping?” I guess it is just free shipping, “Ok, free shipping too.” Next thing you know, they took the mile. Instead of selling your services short, assign each a value and counter, “I could offer the 90-day warranty if you extend your contract by six months,” for example.

The Counter: If your client nibbles, always nibble back or you’ll be left without.

Time Pressure: This tactic’s goal is to create human error by provoking pressure. “I’m heading to a meeting in one hour; I need your price.” Instead of providing an estimate on the fly, buy yourself some time by asking to call them back. Utilize that time to generate a date for when you can return an accurate proposal. If you’ve had several past discussions, ask what has changed that is driving the urgent request. There may be other ways to help that will benefit your sales efforts and strengthen your relationship. If the pressure is intended to provoke an error, they will likely be caught off guard resulting in a leveled playing field.

The Counter: Avoid time pressure constraints, and ask questions that turn the discussion to the desired outcome.

Higher Authority: “Ok, let me run this past my boss, partner, etc.” We’ve all heard this answer and often they return stating the other party doesn’t like the deal. To prevent this scenario, know the company’s org structure, and ensure you have the right people in the room the first time. If you still don’t know, ask who they are and involve them. “Ok, let’s sit down together with X to discuss the proposal.”

The Counter: Know who your decision makers are and involve them in the beginning. If your decision maker is in the room, hold them accountable, subtly.

When negotiating, be prepared. Arm yourself by acknowledging when these tactics are occurring and putting the appropriate counter-tactics into practice.

Check back next week for more negotiation tactics and powerful strategies for overcoming them.

Julianne Watt, Sales and Marketing Analyst at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at

A boutique agency with seasoned professionals, RedRover is the only Memphis advertising agency to integrate sales training and coaching with marketing strategy planning and execution. RedRover has a uniquely intense focus on achieving measurable results for its clientele. This Memphis ad agency’s diverse client roster represents nearly every industry vertical in greater Memphis.

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