Negotiation Tactics July 23, 2012

Throwing Garbage on Their Lawn

There is a tactic of negotiating that buyers use to soften a saleperson’s resolve to hold their asking price. With the Karrass negotiation training classes, we call that tactic, “throwing garbage on their lawn...

There is a tactic of negotiating that buyers use to soften a saleperson’s resolve to hold their asking price. With the Karrass negotiation training classes, we call that tactic, “throwing garbage on their lawn.”

The way it works is this: The buyer goes into the bargaining session with a long list of seller mistakes. These are problems or inadequacies created in the past by the selling organization. Examples of this tactic might include things like, “your last delivery was late.” Or “the colors of the product didn’t match your samples.” Or “you didn’t complete the order on time.”- each of these represents a distinct complaint or problem that a buyer might use to reduce the seller’s confidence.

With each negative factor that is thrown onto the seller’s lawn, the seller’s determination to hold their position lessens. Their expectations fall, and with them, their prices.

This negotiating tactic has worked well for salespeople for centuries, but it has no place in negotiations within a company. This is a crucial point. When trying to reach agreement within one company, positive relationship building between the parties must be the focus of every strategy or approach.

Within an intra-company setting, reminding others of their past inadequacies rarely (if ever) leads to better performance or relationships. There is also another problem associated with throwing garbage on their lawn: the other side can always throw some back.

And they usually do.
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