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Tactical Tuesday: The Stepping Stone

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Jul 25, 2017 9:12:50 AM

Name: Stepping Stone

AKA: Climbing the ladder, HK Love Affair,  Getting the Right Sequence

Description: Using one partner or counter-party as a ploy to negotiate a better deal with a more desirable partner. Working your way up the ladder of potential partners.

 Sample usage (Alvin and Bob):

Alvin – “Who is Quantum Associates?”

            Bob - “Oh – QA. Yeah – they were an outfit I talked to a year or so ago.”

            Alvin – “I met one of their new bizdev managers at a party last weekend.”

            Bob – “A salesman from QA? What did he say?”

            Alvin – “I didn’t get the impression he’s a big fan of yours.”

            Bob – “Ours.”

            Alvin – “Yeah. Not a big fan of ours. You backed out of deal with them last year?”          

            Bob – “No. I pulled out of a negotiation. I learned a lot about them, they learned a lot from me, and we decided not to go forward.”

            Alvin – “You pumped them for information and spread the word around that you were moving into the IoT space.   Then you signed an exclusive deal with someone else.”

            Bob – “That someone else was Mississippi.Com, and that deal is the reason we are sitting here today. Yes, I did use QA to set up the bigger deal. But I never signed or agreed to anything. They were nice enough, but didn’t have much to offer as far as marketing firepower. MisCom did. It was a business decision.”

Intent: Increase the perceived value of your brand or organization by seeming to negotiate with key players in the counter-party’s market or industry.

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Tactics

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.

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit 

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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

Negotiating Tactic:  Poor Me (AKA: Limited Mandate)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on May 30, 2017 8:31:00 AM

Poor Me

AKA: Limited Mandate, Empty Pockets, Nothing I Can Do.

 Description: You would like to help – nothing would make you happier than to cut your price or improve your offer. But you don’t have the budget, the authority, or the resources. Nothing you can do.

 Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob):

  • Bob: “That’s impossible. Way too expensive.”
  • Tim, the technical rep at Global Cloud Solutions: “I’m sorry Mr. Clauson. That’s the only price I can offer.”
  • Bob: “But that’s 33% over last year. I’ve been a client of GCS for 5 years.”
  • Tim: “I’m very sorry. There’s nothing I can do”

 Intent: Support a claim that you have hit rock bottom and can’t go any further.

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Tactics, how to negotiate

Negotiating Tactic: Foundation (the Test Order)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on May 23, 2017 10:24:29 AM

Tactics:  Foundation

AKA: Start Small, Slow and Steady, Building Block, Short List, Test Drive

Description: You’re taking a building block approach. Maybe it’s your idea – maybe it’s his.  But someone wants this to be a test drive – or the foundation of a strongerrelationship.

Intent: Build trust – very intentionally, and very slowly.

Sample Usage:  

Bob: “Maybe we’re moving a little too fast here.”

            Alvin: “What are you talking about?”

            Bob: “We’re going from occasional client to full partners pretty quick. What do you say we find a way to test things out a little?”

            Alvin: “ I understand why you would want to do that, but from my perspective it’s a different situation. I’ll do the design work and navigation systems. For a major one-off project we’d have to talk about licensing and residuals. Or pay me standard rates for a job this size – with this kind of IP.

            Bob: “My client’s not going to want to hear about that.”

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Tactics, Foundation

Tactical Tuesday:  How Can I Help?  (aka:  the Mentor)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Apr 26, 2017 10:18:10 AM

Name: How Can I Help?

AKA:  The Mentor, Tell Daddy Your Problems

This is a recent one, and it seems to have developed in Silicon Valley.  See Frenemy. Someone – usually with money, power, or a track record – SEEMS to be offering to make all of your (business) dreams come true. For the unguarded and eager, the answer to “How Can I Help?” quickly turns into a quick & dirty master-class in your business model, with special emphasis on how to most effectively compete with you.  

Sample usage (Alvin and Bob the Bear): The consultant seemed so nice, so interested in Alvin’s situation. “My company works with designers and creative all the time, and we have a solid track record of supporting early stage business owners like you.   How can we help?” Before Alvin even realized it, he had explained who his biggest client was and what he wanted Alvin to do.

Intent: It might be that he really wants to partner with you – or maybe offer some free, fatherly advice. Because that’s a thing that happens. But it’s also possible that he wants you to describe the most vulnerable part of your business plan. Either way, you are expected to do a lot of the talking in the near future.
FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Tactics, how to negotiate

Tactical Tuesday:  Take It or Leave It

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Apr 19, 2017 3:30:02 PM

Take it or Leave it

  Final Offer, Last Chance, My Way or Highway, TIOLI.

Sample usage:  Bob began collecting papers and preparing to go.  "Alvin - you've taken me as far as I can go.  You've gotten yourself a good deal, but I can’t do any better."    There are a lot of ways to say it, but eventually you have to bring the negotiation to an end.  Salesmen call it "closing".  Buyers call it the squeeze. It’s TIOLI – Take It or leave it.

Intent:  You want to end the back-and-forth and finalize the negotiation on your terms. 


 FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, TIOLI, Take it or leave it

Tactical Tuesday:  Frenemies

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Apr 19, 2017 11:32:27 AM

Negotiating Tactic:  Frenemies

AKA:  The Mercenary, Opportunist

Sample usageBob the Bear waved away Alvin’s objections.  “I know that I was tough with you when you were just another supplier, but now we’re talking about an exclusive, long-term partnership.  You have to believe that it will be a completely different relationship now.”

Frenemy is one of those tactics that is also a behavior (like SPITR) – for some people.   You are making RELATIONSHIP a variable whose value changes frequently.    Frenemies aren’t hung up on people’s feelings.   If someone is useful, you’ll be close partners.  When they aren’t useful anymore, you move on.  For some negotiators, this is very challenging.  For others, it is second nature.

Intent:  Turn network contacts into business resources.  Assign values to connections with everyone, and activate relationships when advantageous.

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Frenemies,

Tactical Tuesday:  Still Friends

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Apr 5, 2017 1:48:36 AM

Negotiating Tactic: Still Friends

AKA:  Breaking Up is Hard to Do, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone   

"Still Friends" is a high-pressure tactic you use with a risk-averse counterparty that you have relationship with.  Unlike BFF or Marry Me, you aren't offering to start a new partnership, but rather threatening to terminate an existing one.  If you are attempting to pressure a business owner over a one-off transaction, it doesn’t have much impact.  But if you use this on a mid-level manager in an organization that has a long-standing business relationship, it can be a very powerful move.

Intent:  Threaten to end an existing relationship unless concessions are made.

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday

Tactical Tuesday: Good Friends (aka: Besties)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Mar 29, 2017 2:54:04 AM

Good Friends

AKA: Besties, BFFs, Let's do lunch

Some deals are enhanced when you can build a cordial, professional relationship, and one of the best ways to do that is to get your counterparty out of the office and into neutral territory. Friendly is great, as long as it helps you. That means doing the analysis first, and then taking the lead on process issues, like picking the setting and engineering the terms of the new relationship.   At the end of the day, however, you have to make sure that the time and effort you put in is justified with specific gains.

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Tactics, how to negotiate, relationship building

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