“Negotiate Through Pain – How To Turn Agony Into Solutions In Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Pain will always hurt more in the moment than it will in moments to come.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Negotiate Through Pain

How To Turn Agony Into Solutions In Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Pain hurts. And it can become agony when it becomes too intense. Do you know how to use negotiation pain to enhance your negotiation efforts and then turn that pain into a negotiation solution? When negotiation pain seeps into discussions, it becomes difficult to negotiate effectively.

If you can control the flow of the negotiation pain in your negotiation counterpart, at strategic points during the negotiation, you can gain an edge in your talks. To do that, you can offer negotiation solutions to alleviate his pressure, which will allow you to move faster to a successful negotiation outcome. And here is what I suggest you do to accomplish that.

Why Create Negotiation Pain

In any situation, perception is reality. And pain shifts the realistic perspective of a negotiator to escape pain’s grasps. Thus, to create negotiation pain in a negotiator’s mind, make pain his reality – if you wish him to accept your negotiation solution faster. And to accomplish that, get him to focus on more considerable aspects of the negotiation while you nibble at the smaller parts you seek.

For example, you may seek value from the negotiation that amounts to 30% of what you are asking from him. But in reality, in that situation, you might demand 70%. That demand will create pain in him. Once you have ratcheted the pain to the point of heightening tension, reduce it by offering your negotiation solution.

What Causes Negotiation Pain

Fear Of Missing Out (fomo)

Given the proper stimulus and environment, most people fear missing what they perceive as an opportunity. And the variables of that can extend from not getting the best deal, not being seen, heard, or included. When negotiating, fomo can induce mental pain by invoking the thought that the other negotiator may forgo a chance for gain if she does not move quickly.

Most negotiators know, people will move away from pain quicker than towards a more pleasing outcome. If you examine that premise for a moment, there is logical reasoning behind it. When a negotiator is moving towards a more satisfying development, they may attempt to enhance their prospects, and thus, they may extend the negotiation to reach a higher point.  

But when you present a negotiator with a potential pain-inducing situation, he will attempt to extract himself from that dilemma to avoid it. During such times, his mental state of mind may also be working against him. And that could lead him to make concessions that he might otherwise not engage.

Pain Causing Penalties

Another factor that induces pain is penalties. Thus, by placing penalties strategically in a negotiation, you can entice your opponent to move quicker in your designated direction. By doing that, you allow them to reduce the negotiation pain they are experiencing while moving towards the negotiation solution you have offered. So, before you engage in a negotiation, consider the pain points you will introduce into the talks and at what times you will do so.

Inducing Pain Into The Negotiation Process

If you have ever purchased an automobile, you most likely had the salesperson attempt to invoke pain into the process. It might have been in the form of, hurry before this vehicle is gone. Or, it may have been something like, we don’t have that one any longer, but you can get one like it for an additional $500.

So, why does the salesperson do that? Because they know, the more on edge they can put you, the more pressure will build up within you. And at some point, you want to release that pressure. And you will do so by making a purchase that is close enough to what you were seeking. And that is how to use the pain gain.

How To Uncover Negotiator’s Pain Points

When I was a kid, my friends and I would play the number guessing game. One person would write down a number, and the other players would guess the number. The number writer would then tell that person if their guess was too high or low. The game would proceed in the manner until one person guessed the correct number.  

If you have no clue where your opposition’s pain points lie in a negotiation, you can employ a similar strategy as the number guessing game. In essence, refuse the request of the opposition for minor and more significant concessions. Then, note the reaction you receive. He may perceive you as being obstinate, but in some negotiations, when you must introduce pain into it for the reasons you find necessary, you may be willing to run that risk.

There are countless ways to uncover a negotiator’s pain points. Using probing techniques, such as outright asking your counterpart what he will do if you cannot reach a deal, will reveal some of them. You can also threaten a stakeholder not at the negotiation table to induce and then uncover pain.


If you want to create more negotiation solutions, consider inducing negotiation pain first. As stated, a negotiator will move from pain quicker than a more significant outcome. So, assist them on their journey by offering negotiation solutions that will unleash their mind from negotiation pain. In the process, you will be setting them free to negotiate with you more engagingly. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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