“Beware – How To Avoid AI Chatbot Disaster In A Negotiation” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Sometimes, the only time you should waste time is when responding to negotiation chatbots. In so doing, you could discover that’s not a time-waster at all.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“Beware – How To Avoid AI Chatbot Disaster In A Negotiation”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

An associate informed me of an ongoing negotiation she was having with a service provider. She suspected some parts of the interactions were with an AI (artificial intelligence) chatbot. But she wasn’t sure if it was a chatbot or a human.

After telling me of her interactions, she wanted to know if I thought her foray into the negotiation was with a chatbot. I told her, most likely, she’d been negotiating with one – if not wholly, then at points of the engagement – which meant she’d have to be aware of several factors as she advanced. The following are factors you might consider when negotiating in non-face-to-face negotiations.    

AI Chatbot Definition

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to machines that possess the capability of human intelligence. With chatbots, the simulation occurs based on how and for what purpose a chatbot is programmed. Thus, chatbots are machine-like because they can simulate humans’ thought processes, generating actions and reactions from humans.

Chatbot Background

People from government agencies to major corporations to small business owners are touting chatbots as a necessary tool to increase productivity. And yes, chatbots can and do increase productivity. They do so by assuming some of the workloads a human would undertake.

But like anything else, chatbots can become an unequal gamechanger for the progression of some negotiations. That can lead one party to a disastrous outcome. That’s very true based on how some parties use chatbots to progress discussions.

But how you’ll use chatbots to enhance a negotiation is a question to ponder. You should also consider how you might counter if you’re the opponent of someone you suspect is engaging a chatbot. Thoughts like where the chatbot is attempting to lead me and how I might get human intervention must be top of mind throughout the engagement.  

Chatbots can acquire a constant advantage in a negotiation because they can limit options. And that can cause their opponent to forgo the consideration of other paths they might have taken. For a chatbot’s opponent, that’s akin to giving your negotiation counterpart insights about your negotiation plans to use against you.

Studies have shown that humans fared much worse when negotiating against chatbots than they do against other humans. Part of the reasoning was that humans controlling a chatbot’s programming were more likely to engage in deceptive negotiation techniques. http://bit.ly/3ko4YFF Thus, if a human is not savvy when negotiating against a chatbot, the chatbot can lead the human to a negotiation disaster.

The Rest Of The Story

In my associate’s situation, she began her talks via a face-to-face meeting with the manager from an organization she wanted to make a purchase. After that, a follow-up email from the manager asked my associate what she thought about the meeting. I found this interesting because it wasn’t a telephone call. I questioned if that was the beginning of a virtual process – meaning, was AI being used at that point to continue the negotiation process. My associate stated that she’d not responded to the email.

Several days passed. My associate then received a text message stating that the organization might offer payment terms should she decide to proceed. When she informed me of that, I suggested she not respond. One day later, she received another text message asking if she’d received the prior text and inquired about her willingness to complete the purchase. I suggested she ignore that message, too. For several more days, she received text messages. Finally, the manager called and asked how they might close the deal.

Throughout the time the email and text messages were being sent, I suspected the organization employed AI on its behalf. I found it odd that the process eliminated the human element. I then thought the organization might have done so to increase the interactions it had with prospects. Also, I thought they knew the value of having AI negotiate on its behalf.  

My associate concluded the deal. She did so after receiving an offer that was substantially better than the one initially offered.   

Chatbot Pros/Cons

Upside To Using Chatbots

Chatbots can use their AI programming to shorten a negotiation process. That allows their users to address more negotiation situations. Thus, the chatbot eliminates the need for human intervention in some cases. And when negotiating with less skilled negotiators, the chatbot will usually come out ahead.

Downside To Negotiating Against Chatbots

If someone lacks substantial negotiation experience, most likely, they won’t fair well against chatbots. The reason being, based on the AI programming of the chatbot, it’ll guide a human negotiator towards an end goal without that individual knowing how to thwart the chatbot’s efforts.

The Lesson

When you suspect you’re negotiating against a chatbot or any form of AI, you must seek ways to control the process. That’s the biggest takeaway I suggest you obtain from the information presented. If you lack control, you’ll be at the perilous mercy of the AI chatbot.

Reflection

Never be too quick to accept a chatbot’s offer. If you do, you may miss a better opportunity. When dealing with chatbots in your negotiation, timing can be a significant factor. Timing occurs in how you respond and the insight you give the chatbot when you respond. Never dismiss the capabilities of a chatbot to outthink and outmaneuver you in a negotiation. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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