Negotiators who can’t use pure Power to force their terms on the other side have to rely on Influence – 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.