Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Decisions Lead to Big Decisions When Negotiating

I'm sure you've seen Good Guy/Bad Guy used in the old police movies.
Good Guy/Bad Guy is one of the best-known negotiating gambits.

Officers bring a suspect into the police station for questioning, and the first detective to interrogate him is a rough, tough, mean-looking guy. He threatens the suspect with all kinds of things that they're going to do to him.

Then he's mysteriously called away to take a phone call, and the second detective, who's brought in to look after the prisoner while the first detective is away, is the warmest, nicest guy in the entire world. He sits down and makes friends with the prisoner. He gives him a cigarette and says, "Listen kid, it's really not as bad as all that. I've taken a liking to you. I know the ropes around here. Why don't you let me see what I can do for you?" It's a real temptation to think that the Good Guy's on your side when, of course, he really isn't.

Then the Good Guy would go ahead and close on what salespeople would recognize as a minor point close. "All I think the detectives really need to know," he tells the prisoner, "is where did you buy the gun?" What he really wants to know is, "Where did you hide the body?"

Start out with a minor point and then work up from there.

A car salesperson says to you, "If you did invest in this car, would you get the blue or the gray? Would you want the vinyl upholstery or the leather?"
Little decisions lead to big ones.

A real estate salesperson says, "If you did invest in this home, how would you arrange the furniture in the living room?" or "Which of these bedrooms would be the nursery for your new baby?"
Little decisions grow to big decisions.

People use Good Guy/Bad Guy on you much more than you might believe. Look out for it anytime you find yourself dealing with two people. Chances are you'll see it being used on you in one form or another.

Watch for the Good Guy / Bad Guy counter gambit to be posted shortly. Know how to handle someone when this gambit is used on you!


Mabel Ho said...

Confronting them alone and directly might do you more harm than good, but there are a few actions you can do to help distract yourself from the issue and keep your mental health in check. Read: how to deal with a lazy colleague

James Zicrov said...

This is a great article that explains the key strategies to master the art of negotiation or Negotiation Strategies Coaching. It's easy to read, and full of useful tips to improve your skills.