Negotiating in Life , Business Negotiation September 12, 2011

Something for nothing

Any experienced business negotiator, or indeed any experienced person, knows that there is something is wrong when you are getting “something for nothing. ” We are all familiar with the adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...

Any experienced business negotiator, or indeed any experienced person, knows that there is something is wrong when you are getting “something for nothing.” We are all familiar with the adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

In business negotiations, it is OK to throw in extra value (we’ll give you free shipping or 45 days credit, for example) but when an offer sounds too attractive, you may be dealing with the “shyster tactic.”  A shyster is someone who obscures his/her purposes by using verbal/legal smokescreens. A shyster tactic is unethical and it involves luring the other party with a deal that is very attractive into a never-ending negotiation.

Dr. Chester Karrass tells us that the shyster will make and break verbal agreements—using a variety of tactics such as claiming a misunderstanding or using the missing-person technique.  A shyster will be cordial until the agreement is signed, and then the trouble will begin. Costs will not be what you thought or there will be endless delays in delivery.

Dr. Karrass says: “Shyster tactics work because people like a bargain and don’t want to work very hard. They get lured into the ‘something-for-nothing’ trap.”

How do you deal with the shyster tactic? First of all, remind yourself that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Second, if you detect any signs of bad faith or a whiff of unethical behavior, turn and walk away.

Have you been taken in by a shyster? Tell us your experience.
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