General Negotiation January 1, 2014

Intimidation By Experts

It’s hard to negotiate against an expert. People are reluctant to assert themselves when dealing with those who are authorities in their field. Experts are a source of power. They serve to move settlement in their direction.

Almost all of us have been intimidated by experts at one time or another. There is probably some room to negotiate a mechanic’s proposed price to repair your car. Yet the moment we try to bargain, we find ourselves confronted by the language of expertise-a foreign tongue beyond our understanding. All we can do is make a feeble attempt to bargain and hope they will be kind enough to give us a break. That’s the way expertise affects bargaining. It conditions us to be passive.

Does this happen in business negotiations? Yes. I have been in sessions where our engineers, normally forceful during planning sessions, said little to defend our position when confronted by the other side’s superior experts. Most negotiators take respectful cover when dealing with those they perceive as experts. They ask fewer questions, do most of the listening and become less assertive in expressing their viewpoint.

In the world we live in, you must expect to be confronted by experts again and again. What can you do to protect your position? The first thing to recognize is that every expert has limits. The best of them may know a great deal about one thing, but they are rarely masters of a broad area. Also, it is well to recognize that their expertise in one area makes it unlikely they will be credible in another. For example, an expert in fabrics is not likely to be an expert in interior decorating. The trouble is that we have a tendency to accept the person’s authority in fabrics and attribute that expertise to interior decorating as well.

Trial lawyers are generally less intimidated by experts than most of us. They know that for every expert there is an equal and opposite expert. In negotiation, the best thing you can do when confronted by an expert is to get one of your own.

Research in psychology indicates that people who are introduced as experts have greater credibility. It’s important that you give your experts all the credibility and prestige you can muster. It will help them influence the other party in support of your position.

There is one more crucial point about experts that deserves to be made. A negotiation is not a jury trial. The outcome will not be determined by whether a jury believes the expert. There is no jury. The result will be determined by the balance of power, the skill of the bargainers, their motivations, the creative both-win alternatives they can jointly develop and the expectations they bring to the table. You have the right to disagree with the experts for any reason you choose, be it right or wrong, intuitive or scientifically rational.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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