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How to Negotiate Successfully: Fear Tactics (Part 4)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on May 25, 2017 2:32:19 PM

Negotiators who can’t use pure Power to force their terms on the other side have to rely on Fear tactics will push his panic buttonInfluence – which means pressing his Hope and Fear buttons.  In the last article we looked at Hope.  Now it’s time to look at Fear - the pressure people feel when they face risk and possibility of loss.   

Fear tactics are all about the emotional trigger, and the basis of all emotional triggers is Take It Or Leave It (TIOLI) and the Walk Away.  The thing to remember about Fear tactics is that they are designed to influence – so there is a bit of a Bluff here.  If you really have the ability and intention of following through with your threats, then it is Power.  Fear indicates you want to maintain some kind of relationship or post-deal service. 

Use the Fear button when you are dealing with a counter-party who is constrained by internal pressures.  He’s afraid of telling a boss he came home without a contract – or worse, that he lost the relationship with a strategic partner.  Fear works best when the other side has a low BATNA and will be blamed by internal stakeholders for failure.   Fear tactics are designed to amplify his stress – you are making his “no-deal” option seem even bleaker, and his relationship with your organization even more tenuous.

 There are 2 big categories of Fear tactics:  loss of this deal, and loss of this relationship. 

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Fear Tactics:

 Bluff – Business talk for Lying.  You are exaggerating how bad his life will be if you Walk Away , or how close you are to doing that.

Call his Bluff  - Bluffing is (often) the province of the desperate .  If he is blurting out stress-lies, then calmly challenging his bluff is a great way to A) get more information, and B) hit him with Take It Or Leave It.

Take It Or Leave It (TIOLI) - This is the basis for all of his fears.  You have made your final offer.  Now the ball is in his court.  

 Walk Away – Just like it sounds.  First comes TIOLI, than you walk away forever. 

Fear tactics work best when they are afraid of their own bosses & partners

End of the World – This is PURE fear – and is usually a Bluff.  If this deal doesn’t happen right now, then he will not only lose the deal, but he will never do business in this town again, his reputation will suffer, his investors will abandon him, and his children will shun him. 

The Take Away – That asset or deal you were discussing?  Well, sorry but it’s gone.  Yeah, it’s a shame.  Already sold – snapped up by someone quicker and smarter than you.  Oh—wait a minute.  There may be a chance to get it – but we have to move RIGHT NOW. 

 Still Friends  -  Your two organizations have had a long relationship – and he almost ruined it!  Fortunately for him, you have decided to give him a second chance – assuming he can make this deal.

Whose Problem Is It?  - He raised a sensible concern that he thought you could explain or resolve – but you were completely stumped.   There is no way to solve this!  What can you do?  Admit that you can’t figure out a solution, and then apply Silence liberally.  If he needs this deal as much as you think, he’ll not only figure out a compromise solution - but now he owns this problem. 

Good Cop Bad Cop -- The classic team tactic where you are the sane, helpful collaborator and your partner is the aggressive, Crazy Guy competitor.  He scares the counter-party, you offer him a reasonable compromise and save the day.

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Intent 

Fear is an influence technique that makes his no deal option seem either catastrophic and/or imminent.  You are pressuring him to accept an unfavorable valuation.  Hope is about making the value seem higher.  Fear is about making BATNA seem lower – and closer. 

Remember that most Fear techniques are playing on his aversion to consequences within his own organization.  If you are able and willing to ruin his business, then you are using Power.  Fear is about the repercussions of a failed negotiation.  

Relationship as a FEAR variable:

Fear tactics aren’t great for starting new relationships, but they use existing relationships as leverage.  You can also make him fear that you will team up with one of his competitors, or offer an exclusive arrangement to someone else.  You can also use End of the World to make him nervous about the opportuntity cost of not doing this deal.  His chance for future business, his reputation, his connections, his standing in the community -- all will be lost if he doesn't sign this deal.

The 3 kinds of relationship fears:

  • Fear tactics can make him nervous about relationshipsMake him afraid of losing an existing relationship with you.
  • Make him afraid of you forming a relationship with someoneelse - like a competitor.
  • Make him afraid of losing the opportunity to have a relationship with you and your network.

Style and Fear:

Fear tactics are good to use if you are Competitive or Avoiding.  If you already have a good relationship in place, then you may be able to use that as a bargaining chip – particularly if his side relies on the partnership.    Collaborators can use Fear tactics to emphasize the dangers of not having a strong partner -- but this is tricky to pull off and can make you sound like you are trying to scare them.

Who does FEAR work on?

Ironically, the more decisive and authoritative you are, the more effective fear is when used AGAINST you.  Entrepreneurs and bosses are the ultimate deciders, and if you can push there panic button with a Now or Never/TIOLI challenge, then you can take advantage of their lack of information and options.

Risk avoiders will check with finance, and low-level clerks will kick the problem upstairs.   In order to be effective, the target of Fear tactics has to be responsible for the outcome of no deal or an unfavorable valuation. Hope is about making the value seem higher. Fear is about making BATNA seem lower – and closer.

Remember that most Fear techniques are playing on his aversion to consequences within his own organization. If you are able and willing to ruin his business, then you are using Power. Fear is about the repercussions of a failed negotiation.

Fear Orientation

scared-2175161_1920.jpg

Fear is often focused inwardly. He is afraid of a boss, a partner,  a wife, or maybe even for a child who he is responsible for.   If you are afraid of the guy across the table, then he has power. If you are afraid of the people back at HQ, then he has influence (over you) based on fear.

 That means a great counter to Fear tactics is to negotiate a strong position AT HOME in advance.

 Style and Fear:

 Fear tactics are good to use if you are Competitive or Avoiding. If you already have a good relationship in place, then you may be able to use that as a bargaining chip – particularly if his side relies on the partnership.

Who does FEAR work on?

Ironically, the more decisive and authoritative you are, the more effective Fear tactics are against you. Entrepreneurs and bosses are the ultimate deciders, and if you can push their panic buttons with a Now or Never/TIOLI challenge, then you can take advantage of their lack of information and options.

  

Final Word: 

Fear tactics are about making him doubt his ability to move his company forward without this deal.

He is not supposed to be afraid of YOU – he’s supposed to be afraid of his own stakeholders (bosses, partners, investors, family).

 

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Topics: Tactics, how to negotiate, Power, PIHF, Fear, Hope

Written by Andrew Hupert

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