“Mind games can lead you astray if you don’t control the games your mind plays.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)
“Negotiator – Do Not Be Fooled By These Amazing Mind Games”
When do you fall prey to a negotiator’s mind game? An associate wanted to invest in computer software that would enhance his small business operation. He did his research and found a service to purchase. When he saw the offer, it said, “save $30 off of the yearly subscription.” The price was $159. He got busy and forgot to make the purchase. When he went back the following week, the cost was $189. And it had a red slash through a price indicating, “normally $229.”
What happened? A mind game, known as negotiation jujitsu, had just been perpetrated on the associate. It’s a maneuver a negotiator uses to alter the perceived value of an item to increase your desire to have it.
Some people are motivated by gain. But more people are driven by the fear of losing something. So, when a negotiator attempts to use one of the following tactics against you, understand what he’s doing. And don’t be fooled by the mind games he employs to manipulate your mind.
If a negotiator knows you follow a particular authority figure, he may attempt to sway your perspective by invoking that figure. The effort might go something like, “you know that Mr. X uses this product, right? So, if it’s good enough for him, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s right for you, right?”
While he may place his suggestions in the form of questions, he may also state them as facts, depending on which way he believes you’ll become swayed the most. The point is, you must prepare yourself for either. By doing so, you’ll insulate yourself better to combat this ploy.
“Oh, my goodness! You look great in that. I can see heads turning to look at you. You’ll be the envy of your peers!” This ploy attempts to stoke your vanity. And, it’s usually successful when employed against someone seeking to have his ego stroked.
Everyone likes to receive compliments. What you must weigh is the sincerity of the praise. Since there’s no inherent cash value applied to vanity, only allow it to factor into your decision proposition when it adds value to the outcome. Otherwise, keep it in check when making your decisions.
Simple Mind Games
Scarcity – only a few left – someone just ordered the last one, but since you’re here, you can have it.
Last One – we just sold the last one – wait a minute, let me check in the back – I remember seeing one some time ago – hopefully it’s still there.
Ending Soon – The sale will end soon – if I were you, I’d get it now and take advantage of the lower price.
The examples just mentioned are the simplest of mind games intended to make you take quick action. And yet, they can be very effective against those that are not savvy about such tactics. Even more insidious is the close tie that scarcity has with the ‘last one’ ploy of an item. When someone attempts to use such tricks against you, disconnect your heart from your decision, and instead, use your head. And don’t allow yourself to be moved to action if it’s not right for you.
Timing of Offers
Offers have more potency depending on the occurrences surrounding them. Thus, you should always consider the timing of a negotiator’s offer. Because, in some cases, the timing factor can appear enhanced for bogus reasons.
As an example, if a seller of real estate indicated that he had to liquidate a property, due to financial hardships, potential buyers might assemble thinking they were in for a bargain. In this case, the reasoning tied to the timing of the offer is the seller’s financial hardship. Then, when the buyers begin competing against one another, for what may have been a bargain, some might get caught up in the process. And that might be the catalyst that causes them to exceed the cost of what they initially envisioned as a fantastic opportunity.
When contemplating the timing of an offer, consider the reason given for it, and the possible frenzy that it might create. While the timing of some proposals may be valid, per a negotiator’s claims, it’s also a tactic that savvy negotiators use for manipulation. By being observant of the possible intent of an offer’s timing, you can subvert the possibility of it manipulating you. And that will place you in a better position from which to negotiate, or not.
Negotiating Against Yourself
The seller said, “if that’s your best offer, I’ll consider it. But other offers will probably be better.” Okay, I’ll increase my offer, was the buyer’s response. Several things occurred in this exchange.
Number one, the buyer was negotiating against himself. That means he didn’t ask about the other offers before he increased his. Never increase an offer without really knowing who’s opposing you. And identify why you should raise it, if at all, based on what others are doing.
That leads to point number two. The seller said, “other offers will ‘probably’ be better.” The emphasis being ‘probably.’
When someone makes an assertion placed in the form of a probability, pause – always listen intently to the words one uses when they make an offer. In this case, the seller was implying that an occurrence might ensue, but what he was also relating was that it might not happen.
When you hear language that’s not absolute, question the probability of its occurrence. Also, inquire about the likelihood that others will make a higher offer, the timeframe in which they might do so, and why they might do so. Plus, ask about the probability of the other negotiator accepting your offer if you increase it.
Always make the other negotiator work for what he receives. He’ll have greater respect for you and your abilities when he senses he’s earned what he obtained. One way to do that is through the questions you ask. That will also inform him that you’re not someone that can be moved mindlessly towards a direction that suits his needs.
The best defense against someone’s attempts to use mind games against you is to understand their intent. Since good negotiators involve your emotions in a negotiation psychologically, you must be prepared to protect your feelings. Because, if you allow your emotional mind to control your actions instead of your head, you may lose the negotiation. But if you use your head to control your emotions, you’ll come out ahead. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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