Book summary: Secrets of Power Negotiation

Behavioral advice

  • Be willing to live with ambiguity
  • Be resilient
    • Maslow hierarchy of needs
      1. Survival
      2. Security
      3. Social
      4. Self-esteem
      5. Self-actualization
    • Be willing to live beyond stage three most of the time – surpass the need to be liked
  • Don’t be conflict adverse

Dealing with the decision maker

  • When present with a proposal, don’t ask for something specific in return but let the other person offer up an item for exchange
  • Get the other person to commit first
  • Always flinch when proposed something
  • Never say yes to the first offer
  • Ask for more than you expect to get
  • Never be too eager to close the deal – they will give away half of his/her negotiating range
  • Shut up and wait after delivering a rejection or delivering the details of a proposal
  • Always negotiated in absolute numbers instead of percentages
  • Convince them that you are the only one that could solve the problem

Finding the decision maker

  • Ascertain the person you are dealing with is the actual decision maker
  • Do not present yourself as the decision maker
  • When possible always defer to higher authority. The more vague and abstract the better
  • Seek to neutralize┬áthe other person’s Higher Authority Gambit ( also watch out for good cop and invisible bad cop)
    • Appeal to their ego
    • Get their commitment that they will take the proposal to the committee with a positive recommendation
    • Use the qualified subject to close (assume close)
      • Example: let’s sign the deal and put in the condition that it will be closed unless the following conditions occur

Things to watch out for

  • The value of a service greatly diminishes after its been performed
  • Negotiated your fee before you do the work


  • Impasse
    • incomplete disagreement over one issue that could kill the whole agreement
    • solution:
      • Propose to set aside the issue and discuss the other details based on the assumption that we will be able to sort out this issue as some point
      • Create momentum by solving other smaller issues first
  • Stalemate
    • both sides are still talking but not making progress
    • Solution:
      • Create momentum by solving other smaller issues first
      • Change the dynamics by altering one of the elements
  • Deadlock
    • lack of progress frustrated both sides causing conversations to come to a halt
    • Solution:
      • bring in a 3rd party
        • mediator
        • arbitrator
    • Keep an open mind about deadlocks – they happen sometime

Tactics to watch out for and utilize

  • Good cop / bad cop
  • Red Herring – they ask you for something impossible to divert attention so as to get something they want out of you
  • Cherry picking – if on the receiving side, Don’t deal
    • ask for itemized breakdown
    • Learn so much about your competitors that they would see it as a waste of their┬átime to go talk to them
  • The deliberate mistake
    • They offer a good deal to you and then realize from their boss the terms no longer apply
  • Acting dumb to make their feel OK and cause them to let their guard down
  • Don’t get thrown off by their tactics just focus on the concession you are targeting for

Powers of concern

  • Reward power
  • Coercive power
  • Reverent power –
    • When people invoke the power of traditions. The power accumulated by doing things consistently
    • How to neutralize it:
      • Demonstrate exceptions do exist
      • Demonstrate that times have change
  • Situational power
    • Always do enough research so that you can challenge the situation

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