“This Is How To Be A Very Dirty Fighter When Negotiating” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Some people fight dirty because they enjoy it.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“This Is How To Be A Very Dirty Fighter When Negotiating”

People don’t realize; they’re always negotiating.

When you’re negotiating, what type of negotiator are you? Are you fair – you want the other negotiator to feel she’s happy with the outcome? Or, are you someone that seeks to get the lion’s share? Good negotiators adapt their style of negotiations to match the individual with whom they’re negotiating. And sometimes, you must be willing to be a dirty fighter to put the other negotiator down and win the negotiation. The following is when you might consider darning that persona.

Dirty Fighter Alarm

If you see or sense the following is occurring, verify if you’re negotiating with someone who’s not dealing in good faith. Worse, if you’re positive that you’re dealing with a bad-faith negotiator, prepare for negotiation war.  

1. Negotiation Liar

When you catch your counterpart in a lie, note it. In particular, observe what the other negotiator does when he believes you’re unaware of his lies. And, be conscious of the lies he continues to hurl if he thinks you’re aware of them. Of greater importance is what that negotiator does when he knows you’re aware he’s lying, and he expands on them. At that point, he’s saying he doesn’t give a darn about what you think. He’s going to steamroll you!

2. Deny reality

If you’ve ever negotiated with someone that denies reality, you’re aware of the challenges that can present. You’re logical, rational, and your opponent is the exact opposite. In part, he may be portraying that role to confound you – make you question your beliefs. And when someone causes another person to question their reality, that’s the most insidious of dirty tricks.

If you find yourself dealing with this type of individual, first, offer him facts to prove your position. If he denies them, play his game and offer him your perspective of reality. Both of you will be playing mind games, but at least you’ll be in the game, too.    

3. Sense of empowerment

I once led a team of negotiators against what I thought to be friendly opponents. During the negotiation, I noted the room would become hotter when the opposing side did not receive the concessions they sought. Once they received them, the room’s temperature would return to normal. Since we were in their environment, they were the ‘home’ team. And that gave them a sense of empowerment to weaponize the tactic of comfort against us. Always be aware of when a negotiator may feel a sense of empowerment. Because that’s what you should aim to take from him if it’s something he values.

The Enemy Negotiator

When an enemy confronts you, treat him like an enemy. Don’t coddle, cuddle, or attempt to cajole him. When a negotiator displays dirty negotiation tactics, lying, cheating, strongarming you, recognize that he’s treating you like an enemy. If you don’t treat him in the same manner, he’ll continue to pursue his course of action, with the intent to decimate you. Thus, the longer you allow his antics to go unchallenged, the further behind you’re likely to become.  

Dirty Negotiation Tactics

1. The Trojan Horse

Greek soldiers were able to win a ten-year war by creating the deception of offering the city of Troy a gift – the horse. They’re two points to consider about the story and the ploy. Point number one is, you can disguise an offer of generosity to the other negotiator to setup your subterfuge that’ll follow. Number two, scholars are aligned that the Trojan Horse story is more of a fable than fact. Thus, when you decide that you’ll use dirty tactics, you might consider the account you’ll render of stories – truthful or false, to support the narrative you’re promoting.    

2. Deception

A form of deception occurs in every negotiation. It may appear as someone not disclosing the full truth or intentionally lying to enhance a negotiator’s position. The point is, you should first assess the intent of the other negotiator’s deception. Because that’ll give you the measurement from which to determine the degree of trickery you’ll use in return. Speaking of deceit, you can enhance its value by aligning it with beliefs that the other party already embraces. If they believe there’s another buyer and say your product is faulty, consider letting them know that you have limited quantities, and another buyer has an appointment shortly. While this would come under the heading of mild dirty tricks used by the other negotiator, you can glean insight into how you might defend your position and turn the tables based on a situation’s severity.

3. When playing with dirt, you can get dirty.

When embarking upon utilizing dirty tricks, be prepared for blowback. That should be a conscious thought to consider, even when the other negotiator tosses the first volley in the fray. That means, when you’re aware of the negotiation terrain you’re negotiating, be on guard for attacks from sources that you may not think possible. The better prepared you are for what a negotiator flings your way, the better you’ll be at fending it off and using it as a weapon against him, while preventing his reign of harm from reaching you.  


When confronted by a negotiator that shows he’ll employ dirty tactics, be willing to become a dirty fighter. If his actions are left unaddressed, at best, you’ll not reach the negotiation’s full potential. At worst, he could bruise your negotiation ego, leaving you with negotiation paralysis for future talks, which is all the more reason to ‘teach him a lesson.’

Don’t be afraid to disagree with the intent of decency. But when the pretext of it threatens your well-being, be prepared to become a dirty fighter. Depending on what weighs in the negotiation outcome, you may be negotiating for the betterment of your life. 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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