Salary Negotiation Tips: 3 Mistakes to Avoid / by Lewis Lin

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

SEE ALSO: 60+ Brilliant Salary Negotiation Scripts

When I think about the underhanded negotiation tactics that others have used on me over the years, three categories come to mind:

Guilt

Example
"You want to pay $1 for this t-shirt?!? You are a rich Google employee. I work hard. You insult me."

Why does guilt work
Exploits a person's ego. 

In this example, the buyer sees himself as a fair, generous person that doesn't insult others.

What usually happens
"Ok, how about $10 for the shirt?"

The buyer could have bought the shirt for $1.50 from another seller. However, they rationalize the $10 purchase by saying the same shirt would have cost $45 in a Manhattan boutique.
 
How to counter
Don't take it personally. Be assertive instead. E.g. "I understand you worked hard to sell this shirt. However, I could buy this shirt from a different vendor for $1.50." You are no longer insulting the vendor. You are now explaining to him that you would do what any other rational person would do.

Scarcity

Example
"If you don't accept this offer in the next 24 hours, I'll cancel it."

Why does it work
Loss aversion. 

We get upset for days (sometimes years) when we miss an opportunity.

What usually happens
"Ok, I'll take it."

How to counter
If the proposer has a mutually interchangeable option, then their threat is credible. However, this is not as likely as it seems. For 99.9% of all negotiations, plan B is rarely as good as plan A.

So the response here should be, "I understand you want to move quickly. However, this is a decision that I'm not taking lightly. I'd like to have 5 business days to evaluate your offer before giving you my final decision."

Lying

Example
"How do I know you're a cop?"
"The Constitution says all cops have to admit whether or not they're a cop when asked. So ask me."
"Are you a cop?"
"No."
"Ok, here's your dope."
"I'm arresting you. I'm with the Albuquerque police."
(dialogue paraphrased by Breaking Bad, the TV show)

Why does it work
Overconfidence bias. 

We feel strongly about our abilities (in this case, intellect) that we conclude that this must be true, even though we're not an expert in Constitutional law.

Ideal response
Do your homework before you go with your gut.

SEE ALSO: 60+ Brilliant Salary Negotiation Scripts