Killer Negotiator: Tap the right emotions


Who is not a negotiator? Who is not trying to grab a deal? Convincing your parents to take the car out, nailing an interview or snatching that million-dollar contract – negotiations are everywhere. We are all born salespersons! Being a sailor, I personally negotiate with people all over the world on a wide array of subjects. In my series of articles on the topic on and this website, I have covered several key aspects of the art (or science, if you will) of being a Killer negotiator.

This is the last one in this series.

Myth busting time

You might think any party to a negotiation leaves happy if he or she is benefited materially. The simple concept is if you get the bigger piece of the pie, you leave happy. However, numerous studies on group behavior and my personal experiences have proven that:

Things which satisfies you in a negotiation, have little to do with economic advantages or material benefits.

You can get the job even if you are a little less qualified, you can be given the contract even if you have less market reputation, you can convince your car dealer to give you a great price on the car – all with the right attitude. In other words, as a negotiator, there are things which you can do to create an impression that a negotiation went very well for the other person.

That does not, however, mean trying to trick anyone into something which benefits only you. I keep repeating this – if you do not come to a WIN-WIN, you might get away with it once, but you won’t be able to create credibility which will last in the long run.

Personal Compliments

A negotiator will try slipping in meaningful statements like:

“Before you accept my concept, let me tell you that I am glad to know that my idea is so well understood.”

“You surely have a grip on the whole subject matter. I am new to this game, but I think there is one thing you must admit…..”

“That is great! How did you come up with that?”

“I enjoyed dealing with you. I think we shall work very well together.”

“I like the car, it’s just that I cannot afford this price right now.”

People appreciated for being a skilled negotiator or any other factor tends to come out happier from the room, even with a smaller piece of the pie. Spontaneous compliments can often bring more smiles than money or other material advantages.

As always, touch the heart and you have done a killer deal!

While using personal compliments, make them specific to the person or group of people in front of you, or the object of concern (like the car, or the product they are selling).

Compliments work beautifully in personal relationships too. If you are trying to convince your friend or your partner into something, throwing in compliments will greatly help your cause. Examples would be:

“But you are so good in that!” or “I love going there with you!” – provided you mean those things.

will help you convince the other person to nudge in the desired direction.

Killer negotiator

A few ground rules when complimenting:

  1. I said “meaningful statements” in the beginning. That is a must – you must mean what you say! An empty compliment does not create any impression. Believe me, there is always something good to say to the other person if you look for it. Every person can teach you something or the other, things you are humbled by. Do not fake a compliment. Try to appreciate what is right. 
  2. Be spontaneous and well-timed, not well-rehearsed. A very well-rehearsed script comes out negative. For example, if you like an idea during the course of a negotiation, say that. Do not churn it in your head (should I say it, or not?) for a long time.
  3. In a corporate deal, use compliments sparingly and with a subtle undertone. They should never be very direct. Check out the first example above.
  4. In trying to crack a bargain (like on a second-hand car or a house) compliment the object you want. Do not undermine the value of the item; do not say I don’t think the car is worth that much!
  5. No matter what you do, never be completely submissive. Maintain your dignity. A person who does not respect himself loses respect with others too.

Derogatory statements

If compliments get you two steps closer, a negative statement will bring you ten steps back. A much stronger negative effect is created if you make personally derogatory statements such as:

“I expected you guys to understand this.”

“I don’t think I can explain to you with any more clarity.”

“You always do this!!”  (For personal relationships or a coworker)

“I don’t particularly like the car, and I don’t think it is worth that much.”

Such statements show arrogance and overconfidence. At times they come out of fear, which leads to anger. None of the above are expected from a good negotiator. If you try to establish superiority and show the other person down, it would not do you good, given that as a negotiator you want something back from them.

Reaction to Derogatory statements

There are two basic reactions which you will trigger in the other person:-

  1. If the person on the other side is hot-headed, you will trigger anger and retaliation. In a professional environment, anger may not be very apparent. The person could be able to suppress it, but it will show up in the result of your deal.

The primary problem here is that while you were fighting by merits before, you suddenly brought the other person’s EGO into the picture, which he now has to defend! Everyone, no matter how weak in his argument, must defend his or her EGO!

It’s really bad to challenge one’s EGO!

  1. If the person is confident and a trained negotiator, he will not take it personally. You will come out as a person who lacks confidence. He will then dehumanize you and focus on the merits of the deal alone and he can assume that you are not fit to be a negotiator with on a deal like this.

The reaction can be a combination of the above too.

For example, if you are at that used car store and try to play it cool saying you don’t think the car is worth, the salesperson might think: “Let him look elsewhere if he does not like my car. Let him find out its value first.”

Conclusion – The Killer Negotiator Series

Even in the most stringent professional environment, a large number of decisions are taken from the heart. Bring a person closer with the right attitude, and not only will you win the deal, you will also make a friend in the bargain.

This ends the series dealing with Killer negotiating skills, but it’s still far from over! I shall shortly publish an Ebook on the very tricks and techniques of Negotiation and the ways you can train your brain to be the ultimate Killer negotiator! 

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