“New Advice 5 How To Testing Secrets To Quickly Increase Negotiation Skills” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Good negotiators know there is value in testing opponents throughout a negotiation. Great negotiators know how and when to do so.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

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Note: Some of the following negotiation tactics will harm your efforts if misused. Thus, you must be skillful in the timing of their deployment and how you apply them.

In every negotiation, negotiators attempt to control the flow by skillfully engaging in a give-and-take process, and the negotiator most adept will usually come out ahead. There are ways to position one negotiator over the other by using tactics to test their position and willingness to concede at strategic points.

This article reveals five negotiation tactics you can use to accomplish that. You will increase your negotiation skills and outcomes once you acquire and utilize them in your negotiations.

1. Making Concession Requests

When asking for concessions, you can do so by:

A.) At the beginning of the talks, ask for concessions you believe are in your favor and outside of the other negotiator’s acceptance. Even if the other negotiator declines your request, that will lend the appearance of your other offers being more reasonable.

B.) Along the same lines as “A,” ask for outrageous concessions at the beginning of the negotiation and state you will not proceed unless the other negotiator accepts them. The opposition can perceive this as playing extreme hardball, which can cause a negotiation to become grounded, but if the opposition complies, you will have improved your position.

C.) Depending on the circumstances, ask for one point you wish to focus on when making concession requests. In other situations, you may control your request by limiting the choices between a, b, or c.

When you emphasize one choice, you signal the item’s importance, which may or may not be valid if it has no real value to you. Nevertheless, you can use it as a bargaining chip to improve your position simply by highlighting it. 

When you make a, b, c, type requests, you control the options to focus on. Thus, in this case, if there was an option ‘D,’ you excluded it.

Regardless of when you make offers or request concessions, after making them, remain silent. Do not jump in with another offer. Let the other negotiator respond.    

In every one of the scenarios mentioned, you will be testing the other negotiator’s negotiation position and willingness to continue negotiating based on how they address your requests.

2. Disqualifying Components Of Offers

Another way to test your negotiation opponent is by disqualifying components of their offer. The disqualifying tactic entails enticing the opposition to disclose elements of their offer; if they highlight one or several as significant benefits, ask them to assign a value to the elements. Once they do, let them know those elements have little or no value to you. 

You will have disqualified those elements, weakening the opposition’s negotiation position. Your position will become enhanced in that exchange in two ways.

   1. The opposition will be on their heels by having to adopt to a lower perceived value of their offer.

   2. You will be in a stronger position to request concessions for the opposition to increase the value of their future offers.

By knowing how and when to test and disqualify an opponent’s offer, negotiators can enhance their negotiation skills and improve the outcomes of their talks.

3. Challenge Assumptions

Another point about tactics tied to disqualifying offers is challenging assumptions. Negotiators can sway the opinions and perspectives of those they engage by challenging their beliefs, especially when they can use data to substantiate their points.

To test the opponent using this tactic, affect it when you sense doubt from them about what they are saying. You will have begun shifting their perspective if they appear more noncommittal to their statement.

4. Using Commitment Tactics

Every good negotiator knows they should be negotiating with the person who can close the deal. Yet, some get caught in the trap of negotiating to a point, and then, having the opposition state, they have to get final approval from a higher authority.

You can use that tactic to test negotiators to see what they do (i.e., ask at what point you can close the deal, make concessions to get you to close the deal, etc). In all such situations, you will learn more about how that negotiator is willing to shift their goals to conclude the talks.

A variation of that tactic is stating at the onset of the discussion that you can only agree to certain aspects of the negotiation and do not have final approval to close the deal. That is another scenario whereby you will receive feedback from their actions.

If they decide not to continue, that may signal that they are savvy negotiators or realize the position you are attempting to place them in. If they continue the negotiation, it may indicate they are naïve to this tactic or want to continue to see where the talks go. In either case, by testing them, you will have insights to assess their position and possible negotiation expertise.

5. The Flinch

Flinching when your counterpart makes an offer is another effective nonverbal manner of testing them and displaying your discomfort with their proposal. You might project a quick head-jerk backward or appear exasperated with a rapid mouth opening as if to breathe in more air, to effect it. Even if you are extremely pleased with an offer, executing this tactic can give you more information and improve your negotiation position.


So, do you want to increase your negotiation skills? If yes, master and use the testing tactics I have outlined. Doing so will increase your negotiation skills, and you will get more from every negotiation you engage in. And everything will be right with the world.  

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

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