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Tactical Tuesday:  The Flinch (Aka:  You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Oct 3, 2017 12:02:33 PM


AKA: You’re Joking, You Can’t Be Serious

Description: You pretend to be surprised and dumbstruck by their proposal.   You are shocked – SHOCKED – at their outrageous nerve! Try not to ham it up too much.  (It doesn’t seem like it would be effective – but it works.)

Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob):   Alvin had barely gotten the words out of his mouth when Bob’s face twisted in horror and he grabbed his chest.

            “40%? Did I hear that right? Are you serious? Is that what you really said? That can’t be right! Are we talking about the same thing?”   Bob’s face was beet red, and Alvin was worried that the older man was having a heart attack.

            “Well, I’m sure it’s something we can work out. Let’s just come back to that point?”

Intent: Undermine a proposal by acting as though it is insane, irrational, and personally offensive.

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Topics: negotiating tactics, countertactics, counter-tactic, flinch

Tactical Tuesday:  Benchmarking.  (Aka:  Setting the Bar)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Sep 19, 2017 11:45:32 AM


benchmarking is a crucial negotiating tacticAKA: Setting the Bar, Comparables

Description: Benchmarking is one of the smartest -but most under-used - tactic on the list. You are establishing how “normal” gets defined by picking the external, objective index or measurement you’ll use to set value. Are your key variables tied to inflation rates, the price of oil, top-line sales, or bottom-line profits? The person who sets the benchmarks - the jointly accepted measures of value — gives himself a huge advantage. And the person who thinks that you don’t need benchmarks put himself or herself at risk.

Sample usage (Alvin and Bob): Alvin and Bob are meeting to discuss the size of Alvin’s compensation package after ClausTech absorbs his company. Alvin set the benchmark as a percentage of the big sale – putting his cut in the $ 0.5-1.5 million range. Bob was using Dice.com, a hiring board for entry-level techs, as his benchmark so he was thinking of $37 an hour range. There was still a long way to go before this negotiation even got started.

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, negotiating tactics, benchmark

Tactical Tuesday:  Call His Bluff (aka: I Dare You)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Sep 5, 2017 9:16:20 AM

Call His Bluff  AKA: I dare you, the reveal, put up or shut up.

Description: Sometimes you have to call. Stay calm, don’t escalate the tension, and make sure it stays his choice. “If that’s what you feel you have to do, then that’s what you’ll do.”

Sample Usage: David Simmons leaned across the table and locked eyes with Bob “The Bear”, and - for the second time in 10 minutes - announced,

“There’s another software firm that StorageWorld could use to design the site. That’s all I’m saying.”

Bob considered for a moment, and then calmly said, “Use them then.” Simmons cocked his head and slowly sat back in his seat. Alvin started stammering something as he thumbed his phone frantically, but Bob gestured for him to shut up and calm down. Then he continued.

“Seriously, Dave, if you think you can get a better deal by starting over again with someone new, go ahead. And just know – there are no hard feelings. But when you call us back in 8 weeks to get your project back on track, it’s not going to be any cheaper or any quicker. Of course you have other options – and so do we. But rushing to meet arbitrary deadlines when we aren’t even breaking even is no way to do business.”

Simmons sighed, and seemed to ponder a new situation.

“Ok, Bob. I’m sure we can work something out. Let’s all talk it through over lunch.”

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Topics: negotiating tactics, killer negotiating tactics, Bluff, call his bluff

Tactical Tuesday: Exclusivity  (aka: Business Marriage)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Aug 22, 2017 9:51:43 AM


AKA: Business Marriage, You’re All Mine

Description: The negotiation is going well – really well. You are hitting it off with the counter-party, and you really seem to be on the same page. Then he comes up with a great idea – you should be exclusive partners! That will make everything more efficient and will leverage your partnership, right? It may do that, but it also lowers your BATNA and squanders a major source of power – your ability to walk away.

 Sample usage (Alvin and Bob):   Bob – “And of course, the new entity will own all of your creative output in its entirety.”

         Alvin – “Yeah, I guess. But only the work I do for clients, right. I mean, once a client pays or even commissions a design, then it’s off the market. But my design work outside of the office belongs to me.”

         Bob – “This agreement would cover all over you commercial output. If it makes money, then it belongs to the partnership.”

         Alvin – “So you will own 50% of my creative output? That’s doesn’t sound reasonable.”

         Bob – “And I’m offering you the same protection. Any new client that we get will go through you for design work. It’s a two way street.”

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Tactics, negotiating tactics, international negotiator, exclusivity

Tactical Tuesday:  The Big Lie (aka: The Showman)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Aug 15, 2017 10:29:01 AM

AKA: Fake News, Conman, The Showman

 Description: The Big Lie is so over-the-top, so big, and so ludicrous that no sane person would say it unless there was some grain of truth to it. A Big Lie — “my team invented the Internet of Things” — isn’t supposed to be taken at face value. But the listener is supposed to believe that some percentage or degree is probably true.   You might respond, “Maybe his team didn’t really INVENT IoT, but he clearly has some expertise in the field,” when in fact there is absolutely no evidence to support that.

Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob): Once Bob was alone with David Simmons, the CEO of StorageWorld, he started his pitch. “Dave, I was on the team that wrote the first App and we’ve been pushing the envelope ever since. ClausTech was a pioneer in online applications when we started, and 12 years later we are still recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on ecommerce systems.”

Intent: Start adjusting the agenda and positioning yourself as an expert.

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, negotiating tactics, Cross cultural negotiation, big lie

Tactical Tuesday:  Marry Me!  (aka: You and Me against the World)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Aug 8, 2017 9:32:35 AM

Name: Marry Me!

AKA: You and Me Against the World, Local Expert, Needy Ned

Description:  One side wants a relationship more than any other deal point or variable.   Unfortunately they may not have much else to offer.

If you have a strong brand, a protected technology, good marketing channels, or some other entrenched competitive advantage, you’ll find that there are plenty of potential partners who want to lock you into some form of strategic tie-up — even if the terms of the actual business aren’t particularly well defined.  Don’t be fooled by the low-cost, low-maintenance terms of the deal.   The moment you hint that a partnership isn’t completely out of the question, your new devotee is going to leverage this relationship within his or her own network.  This is very common with counterparties who are significantly smaller or new to the market. Scrappy boot-strappers love this move – you might not.

 Sample usage (Alvin and Bob):

            Alvin: I met a guy at the Chicago conference from China. TJ Chen, head of Hangzhou Software. Sounds like he has great connections in China.

            Bob: It always sounds like someone has great connections in China. What of it?

            Alvin: He wants to talk about distribution and localization.

            Bob: In China?

            Alvin: Yeah. I know that wasn’t exactly on our map, but TJ seems to feel we’d be a great match. He has the government connections and marketing channels. All we’ll have to do is pay for localization of the product into Chinese – but his engineers are all bilingual. He’s talking about an exclusive relationship.

            Bob: So we’re providing the IP, the product, AND we’re paying to translate it? All this guy is offering is to hold our hand and be a soft shoulder to cry on when and if things stall out. Meanwhile, he has EVERYTHING of ours.

            Alvin: We need local partners if we want to expand internationally.

            Bob: This guy isn’t a partner. He’s an opportunist. Don’t even take another meeting with him.   Partners share risk and costs. This is just a showboat who wants to tell his home network that he has a big deal with a foreign designer.

Strategic Planning for Negotiators:  Mind the Gap


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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, how to negotiate, millennial managers, negotiating tactics, marry me, killer negotiating tactics

Tactical Tuesday: Dropping Anchor (aka: Stage Setting)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Aug 1, 2017 10:04:29 AM

AKA: Stage setting, Ambitious Open, Seizing the agenda

Description: Deliver your ambitious opening offer first, and set the range of all subsequent discussion. Anchoring is useful for establishing a price or value range – and for determining the negotiating agenda.  You must be confident in your opening offer, however, since you can’t raise it later.

Intent: Seize the initiative, influence value, and set the agenda.

Style: Competitive – but can be Collaborative.

Category: Value Manager

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, negotiating tactics, Negotiating agenda, Drop anchor, Anchoring

Why You Need a Killer Negotiating Plan.   Part 1

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Jul 27, 2017 8:53:01 AM

Why You Need a Killer Negotiating Plan.

Part 1: How do I prepare for a business negotiation?

Preparation is key to negotiating success. Just about every guide or coach will bang the same drum, but they are often less helpful about what you should prepare. Here’s the answer:

Every successful negotiator has three plans for the deal, whether he is aware of them or not.

1)  Strategic plans set your negotiating range.    
You need to decide on: Goals and walk-away limit. Ceiling and floor.
2)  Your tactical plan is your roadmap for moving towards your goals – and away from your bottom line.   Decide: Who makes the first offer? How do you maximize your results?
3)  The style guide tells how you will manage the relationship with your counter-party.   Decide: Partnership, transaction – or string of transactions.
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Topics: Negotiating strategy, how to negotiate, negotiating tactics, how to succeed at negotiation, planning your negotiation

Tactical Tuesday - Big Talk (aka: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Jul 11, 2017 11:27:37 AM

Big Talk

AKA: Tell me about YOU, What’s your story?

Description: This is not bragging — rather it is the opposite of “small talk”. These are big, open-ended questions that give him the opportunity to talk about his business philosophy, where he sees the industry going, how his business differentiates itself from the rest of the market, etc. Should be very low pressure — just move the conversation to serious but non-sensitive issues. It gets him used to talking, and allows you to subtly take control of the direction of meeting.

 Sample usage (Alvin and Bob):   “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Bob asked Alvin and sat back in the seat. This was one of his standard questions at the beginning of a negotiation.

            “Running 3 major project teams, building a new navigation architecture for IoT devices, and opening a new branch in Seoul — or maybe Beijing.” Alvin stopped.           

“Ok. Why Seoul?” Bob had no interest in setting up a branch in Seoul – but he was extremely interested in hearing Alvin’s reasons for wanting to do so…

 Intent: Big Talk is a relationship builder that is designed to move the conversation where you want it to go.

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, relationship building, negotiating tactics, Big Talk

Negotiating Tactic:  The Walkaway. (Because not every deal is good for you.)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Jun 6, 2017 2:52:00 PM

Walk Away

AKA: All over now. I’m outta here.

Description: It’s the biggest power move. You are ending the negotiation. Someone has just said “Take It Or Leave It” (it doesn’t really matter if it was you or him) and now it’s time to go. Do it the right way.    

         Boss tip: Your approach should be: I’m not walking away from you – I’m walking to another counter-party with a better deal.

Intent: Terminate the negotiation - or at least make him think you are willing to.

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, negotiating tactics, Walk Away

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