Individuals in this position often feel as though they have few if any options. In his February 2006 article in Negotiation newsletter, “Negotiating with a 900-Pound Gorilla,” MIT Professor Lawrence Susskind offers strategies for how negotiators in a weak position should deal with a seemingly all-powerful opponent.
You may have more successful negotiations with a stronger party if you appeal to principle. The fact is that non-monetary considerations are often more important to one or both negotiating partners than you might expect. For instance, you may emphasize the value of your existing working relationship or appeal to principles of fairness if the other side seems to be unfairly singling you out.
You can also increase your leverage by forming strategic alliances that undercut your stronger opponent’s ability to generate a better offer that excludes you. For example, you could make a joint bid with a smaller competitor for a project to reduce the risk that you would be involved in head-to-head competition or be shut out of the market entirely.
The strength of the partners in an alliance often exceeds the sum of their parts. This arrangement can frequently allow you to maximize your benefits while enabling your counterpart to get the most out of theirs as well without being in direct competition.
Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.