A hard bargainer may resort to lying, “take it or leave it” offers, bluffs, threats, warnings, personal insults, and dirty tricks. Here’s how to negotiate with them.
The difficult tactics of a hard bargainer may knock us off balance, upset us emotionally, and often threaten our feelings of self-worth and competence. The sense that we are being mistreated often leads us to replace reasoned analysis with hotheaded reactions.
When considering how to deal with a hard bargainer, we tend to write them off as irrational and avoid difficult conversations with them. Yet few people are truly irrational. Rather, they likely have motivations that we have trouble identifying.
For example, their difficult negotiation tactics often reflect a focus on positions, not interests. To reframe, begin by treating the other side’s hard-line position as important information rather than rejecting it, writes William Ury in his book Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations (Bantam, 1993). By doing so, you can avoid an argument over positions and enlist the other party as a creative problem solver.
Encourage the other side to fully express their views and concerns with the goal of identifying the interests underlying their positions. Devote ample time to listening actively, avoiding the urge to express your own views until both you and the other party are satisfied that you understand their interests fully.
If your partner still refuses to cooperate, it’s may be time to give up and move on.
You can learn more about avoiding hardball tactics and find out how to make a deal better and faster than ever before with this free report, Getting the Deal Done, from Harvard Law School.
We will send you a download link to your copy of the report and notify you by email when we post new negotiation advice and information on our website.
In 2014, prosecutors for the United States alleged that Jesse Litvak, a former bond trader for Jefferies & Co., of using a hardball strategy that included lies and deception to defraud investors of more than $2 million. At the trial in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., prosecutors argued that Litvak defrauded investors by … Read More
Top help you handle difficult people, our free, special report Dealing with Difficult People is packed full of concrete tips and strategies. Discover how to collaborate, negotiate, and bargain with even the most combative opponents.
… Read More
We’ve all met them: people who prefer competition over collaboration, stonewalling over problem solving, tough talk over active listening. Think of the boss who refuses to allow you time off to help an ailing relative, or the potential customer armed with a “nonnegotiable” proposal.
When considering how to deal with difficult people, we tend to write … Read More
On August 7, 2013, President Barack Obama canceled a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for September of the same year in Moscow, citing a lack of progress on a variety of issues.
… Read More
Students who master business negotiation become better leaders. But it starts with building the right skills. And that’s where our latest free report comes in. In Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, you’ll learn:
… Read More
In your negotiations, have you ever faced a truly difficult negotiator—someone whose behavior seems designed to provoke, thwart, and annoy you beyond all measure?
For some Western leaders these days, the negotiator who best fits that description might be Russian president Vladimir Putin. Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the Russian leader has seemed … Read More