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Power Negotiating Tips Article by: Roger Dawson

Negotiating Tips from The Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson


Don’t let the other side know that you can make a decision in the negotiation. Tell them that you have a higher authority that has to approve the final deal. You can put a lot of pressure on the other side without creating confrontation by blaming your higher authority. “I can never sell this to my people at this price. You’ll have to give me a better price.”

Danger Point: Don’t make your higher authority an individual, because the other side will want to go around you to deal directly with the decision maker.

Solution: Make your higher authority a vague entity such as a committee or board of directors. That makes the higher authority appear unapproachable.


Assume that you will end up midway between the two opening negotiating positions. It’s not always true that you’ll end up at the midpoint, but it’s a very good assumption to make.

Danger Point: You have made the first offer. They bracket your proposal, and when you end up in the middle, they get what they want.

Solution: Get them to go first. Any suggestion that you should make them a better offer should be met with: “If you’ll make a proposal to us, I’d be happy to take it to my people and see what I can do for you with them.”


This principle underlies all power in a negotiation. The side that has the most options has the most power. Work to let the other side know that you have options. Limit their perception of options by positioning yourself as different from your competitors.

Danger Point: You have fallen in love with the car, house, or job opportunity for which you are negotiating. The other side can sense that you have few or no options.

Solution: Work to develop options before you go into the negotiation.


Listen carefully to the seller’s proposal and then say, “I’m sorry, you’ll have to do better than that.” Then be quiet! The next person to talk, loses. The next person to open his or her mouth will make a concession.

Danger Point: Buyers may use this on you.

Solution: Reply with the counter-tactic “Exactly how much better than that do I have to do?” Pin them down to a specific.


This is the number one mistake that poor negotiators make. They don’t flinch at the other side’s proposal. Always react with shock and surprise that they would have the nerve to ask you for a concession.

Danger Point: The other side often makes a proposal to you that they really don’t expect you to agree to. When you don’t flinch, they start believing that they could get it from you. It makes them tougher negotiators.

Solution: Practice your flinches before you go into a negotiation. A concession often follows a flinch.


International negotiators will tell you that when the other side tries to give you what is essentially their problem, you must test for validity right away.

Danger Point: They tell you, “We just don’t have that much in the budget.”

Solution: Test for validity. Ask them, “Who has the authority to exceed the budget?”


Instead, try to get the other side to offer to split the difference. “How far apart on this are we? We’re not that far apart. There must be some middle ground on which we can both agree.” When the other side offers to split the difference, you can reluctantly agree to their proposal, which services their perception that they won.

Danger Point: If you offer to split the difference, they could get you to split the difference again.

Solution: Get the other side to offer to split the difference. You may then be able to get them to split the difference again. Even if you don’t, you still make them feel that they won.

Learn more about Roger Dawson and his bestselling audio program The Secrets of Power Negotiating.

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- Epictitus

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