Alexander Martinez coaching solutions

A non-traditional negotiation strategy

An idea based on a topic that could be political

A few years ago, I asked an Iranian client about his opinion regarding the sociopolitical situation that his country was experiencing with the United States. I was curious about it because the representatives of this company were very open to Western culture; they did business with companies from all over and even lived for many months in America.

I found what the owner of this company told me very interesting. In his opinion, beyond the religious or political reality of Iran, in the world, there must always be a good, a bad and an ugly. This follows the title of the classic American western. If we think about it, the United States could not be the hero or vigilante of the world (the good guy) if there was no bad guy to fight (in this case, Iran, but it could be North Korea) or an enemy. But there must also be an ugly guy to blame for the things that are not liked. In the case of the United States, the ugly one could be the Latin migrants.

Looking for an exemplification beyond the United States, I thought about my country of origin, Peru and its well-known social problems. As in many other Latin American countries, there is a major problem with crime and migration. So you could say that the government is the good guy, the criminals (or they could also be drug traffickers) are the bad guys, and the immigrants are the ugly guys. I say the latter because they are always blamed when something goes wrong in society.

Applying the idea in a business environment

But can we take this idea to business or even negotiations? I think so. Remember that in one of my posts about negotiation and sales, I mentioned that a classic negotiation strategy is the well-known good cop and bad cop. Remember that we or our offer will always be the good cop (the good one). The bad cop (the bad one) will be some element of the negotiation that helps us pressure the other party to give in to our offer (time limit, clause, someone not present, rule, etc.). The question is, how could we include the ugly in a negotiation?

Let’s say I’m negotiating a sales contract with an international client. As I already said, I would be the good one, the one who brings an alternative to a bad one, which could be the low availability of the product in the market or the high price of a raw material for production. An interesting “ugly” would be transportation problems (high freight rates, delays, high demand, etc.). This is because it is not under the control of any of those negotiating and seems to play a separate party; however, it does play a role in the negotiation!

The presence of this ugly (transport) can help me search, put pressure on the client and forge an alliance to defeat the bad guy in my story. The more I think about this, the more I like what I conclude. Definitely, the presence of this third element, not necessarily linked to the interaction between two parties, that is, running in parallel, could be explored a little more.

I am willing to take this principle and use it in my subsequent negotiations to see the outcome. In fact, maybe I’ve done it before without realizing it, so I have to be a little more conscious of how I present the situation to the other party.

Do you think this third element could be relevant in this type of negotiation? Or do you think this is just another bad cop who is present in the discussion? Have you had experiences where an ugly one has been presented or mentioned at the negotiation table? If so, please leave a comment.

If you find this topic interesting, don’t hesitate to check out other posts about sales or negotiations. If you also think coaching can help you become a better negotiator, do not hesitate to contact me via the website.

Alexander Martinez

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