Negotiation Mistakes

5 Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid

As a small business owner, you are often called upon to negotiate. You might be negotiating with a new client or you might need to negotiate the terms for a new office. These are all times when you need good negotiating skills.

To be a successful negotiator, you need to avoid certain negotiation mistakes. Small Business Trends writer Rob Starr offers five negotiation mistakes that you need to stay away from to improve your negotiation skills.

Programmed Behavior (via Small Business Trends)

You often give a response based on your past interactions with people, but that is not always the best approach. This is likened to a child who has a temper tantrum and gets a bag of candy as a reward. You might get the desired result, but the process was incorrect. The key is not to reward undesired behavior.

Passing the Buck (via Small Business Trends)

Passing the buck often occurs in negotiations. It is when one person blames another for a business-related problem. For example, your high prices are hurting their clients. You can’t give in to this line of reasoning. The client’s problems are his or her problem and not yours. You have to stick to the price point that you believe is fair. You can offer possible solution, but don’t lose your bargaining position.

Good Cop/Bad Cop (via Small Business Trends)

Most people know this tactic from cop shows, and it can be seen at car dealerships. In negotiations, it is when a person says he or she can’t act on an offer until conferring with the bad cop. It gives the good cop the power in the negotiations, because he or she is not the ultimate decision maker. It brings some uncertainty to the person on the opposite side of the table. Don’t give in to the idea. You need to work with the actual decision maker.

Undermining Your Confidence (via Small Business Trends)

When you negotiate, the person whom you are negotiating with will look for your weaknesses. You want to maintain control, and remember to focus on the prize. That means you need to be well prepared. You need to understand your client, and know your exact cost of doing business. Also, you can find other incentives that might entice the client.

Aggression (via Small Business Trends)

Aggression is often used during negotiations. It’s something that can be used against you or by you. Don’t fall for it. You need to keep a level head and be rational during the negotiations. You want to relax and calm the other person if he or she is trying to be aggressive and a bully. The idea is to throw you off you game. You need to stay calm and approach the negotiations from a position of power.


KDuncan & Company is dedicated to providing knowledge and support for small government contractors about concerns regarding government contracting. For questions on areas such as as cost proposals, accounting systems, DCAA compliance, and incurred cost audits, reach out to KDuncan & Company.

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