Negotiation Tactics: How Do You Respond to the Good Guy/Bad Guy Routine?

Posted on 08/05/2014 in Sales Negotiation Skills

We don’t ever recommend using adversarial tactics during negotiations.  But we do advise that salespeople need to become aware of the various adversarial tactics so they can become skilled at appropriately responding.  The goal when negotiating with someone acting in an adversarial manner is to move the negotiation in more productive avenue that fosters the relationship.  You certainly don’t want to react in a way that would escalate the situation. 
The term adversarial is defined as hostile, involving or characterized by conflict or opposition.  So, why do people act in an adversarial manner when negotiating?  Usually during a negotiation one side may choose to act in an adversarial manner to fluster the other side.  They are hoping to cause the other side to make a mistake and eventually to feel pressured into making a concession. 
So, what specific negotiation tactics are used to try to make the other side flustered?  Salespeople should be prepared for these tactics, and specifically know how they might respond to these negotiation tactics. Remember, we don't recommend using these negotiation tactics, but we do recommend that you are aware of them so you are not blindsided.
Negotiation Tactics:
False Authority the other side misleads you about his or her authority. You reach a deal with Person A, who then reveals to you that he/she has to get the approval of Person B.  
Emotional Outbursts where the other party erupts into anger, used to cause discomfort for the other side.  By making you angry, the other person hopes that you will make a mistake or reveal some information that otherwise you would have kept to yourself.
Non-Negotiable Demands is used to lower your expectations. If you don’t test it, you weaken your position.
Deadline Pressure is used to cause time pressure to force a decision or some action that is a bad deal for you.  
Good guy, Bad guy can occur in a team negotiation when one person acts tough and unreasonable and their partner acts nice and reasonable.  
Threats become a problem is when explicit and punitive because they generally lead to counter-threats.  An effective response is to "warn, not threaten” the other person. 
For details on how to effectively respond to these and other negotiation tactics, visit our25 Most Difficult Negotiation Tactics article. Managers interested in running an effective sales skills clinic, visit our Negotiation Currencies and Concessions Sales Meeting Kit page. Visit our Sales Training Workshops page for details on our traditional, live and customized negotiation workshops.