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Why Teaching Your Teams Negotiation Tactics is Bad For Your Business

Training your team is maybe the best time investment you can ever make in a business. Extending your employees’ capabilities can be a real edge to your company. This is obvious public wisdom yet… there is a hidden fact: we, as humans, learn DIRECTLY and INDIRECTLY…

Talking about negotiation tactics, here is the established general wisdom:

  1. You want to increase sales.
  2. You train your sales team on negotiation tactics.
  3. Your sales team gets better at negotiation.
  4. Your sales grow.

Where’s the catch?

Most negotiation tactics imply some sort of manipulation of the external partner (supplier, customer…). For instance, you may ask a supplier for a completely crazy rebate threatening to stop the collaboration. The supplier feels like s/he has no choice but to grant the maximum reasonable rebate s/he can afford. In her/his head s/he is off with minimum damage while in reality, you obtained exactly what you were after. The crazy rebate was only a trick.

When your employees consciously learn this trick they also subconsciously learn the following rule: “It is OK to play tricks on others” and by extension “so why not play them internally?”. And there lies the catch. Progressively the best “trick players” become the most promoted employees as they gradually perfect their craft.

The great negotiation tactics training “authorized” a new behavior that is altering trust and may become commonly accepted.

You may ask, is there any negotiation in the absence of manipulation?…

… What can I do about it?

  1. Life is not a zero-sum game. Real negotiation is about creating shared value with your external partners instead of going after small spurts of growth. You’ll still get the best deal but with no tricks involved. Teach your employees to grow the pie before dividing it. This stems from deep partner understanding, 360° business acumen, and an abundance mindset.
  2. Be less tactical and more strategic. Concentrate your time, energy and money on the right focus areas: building the right product and the right culture.

My point is the following

  1. Whatever is SOMETIMES necessary (manipulation) should not become the RULE.
  2. Efficient solutions (manipulation) are not always good.
  3. You have alternative good solutions: focus on the company culture and improving your value proposition.
  4. If you still have to negotiate, negotiate. Which means, grow the pie then divide it. If you do it otherwise you are not negotiating but bargaining.

Closing tweet

If your customers are hard in nego it means your bargaining power is low. Linking back to how good your product is — K
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Complementary reading on the subject?

NO You Do Not Need to Manipulate… And YES You Can Influence…

5 Contexts Where we Get a License to… Lie

If interested in learning how to work with your nature and not against it, check out my book at

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