5 Subtle Ways to Gain the Upper Hand in Negotiations

Whether you relish the challenge or find them a little nerve-wracking, negotiations are a fundamental aspect of business life. Not everyone is a natural born negotiator, but the good news is that negotiation skills can be learned and improved. Any businessperson or salesperson who feels that their negotiation technique needs brushing up will benefit from 'Negotiation Strategies'. This practical informative course provided by sales and leadership training specialists Maguire Training invests delegates with the knowledge and skills required to break negotiation deadlocks, explain the three-step bargaining process and give a greater sense of value during negotiations. As a result of the course, delegates should be better equipped to obtain their desired outcome from any negotiation.

Negotiation could almost be considered a game or a battle of wits, and as such, it is useful to possess a range of tactics that might help to give you an advantage over the other party. Here, Maguire Training gives you 5 subtle ways to gain the upper hand in negotiations.


    • Aim for a realistic, rather than 'perfect' outcome

      Unless the person you are negotiating with is particularly weak at bargaining, it's accepted that you'll have to make some form of compromise during negotiations. Don't enter into talks with the express intent of coming out with every single thing you want; lower your expectations fractionally and don't take negotiation too seriously. You are likely to achieve more if you adopt a relaxed approach.


    • Ask innocent questions that aren't innocent

      The key to a strong negotiation position is to get the other party to unwittingly reveal information that may be useful during the process. Blatantly asking sales related questions won't get you far, but subtly coaching questions as part innocent-sounding small talk can be a great way of fooling your opponent into giving too much away without realising it.


    • Offer a 'sacrificial lamb' 

      Pick a negotiating point that you aren't really bothered about (let's say an extended product warranty, for example) but make a big fuss about just how important this is to you, how much you value the peace of mind it offers etc. If the negotiation isn't going your way, offer to relinquish your supposedly 'cherished' extended warranty (or whatever it is) to regain bargaining power and give the impression that you are making a gesture of goodwill.


    • Think outside the box

      As the saying goes, 'there is more than one way to skin a cat', so look for creative alternatives to reaching your desired negotiation outcome if there is a possibility of minimising your compromises. For example, if an employee is negotiating a pay rise but your budget won't allow it you might offer them a slightly reduced working week as an alternative.

    • If forced, make a ridiculous opening offer

      The golden rule of successful negotiation is never to make the first offer, but if your hand is forced you can always return the favour by suggesting a ridiculously low price and then adding 'Why' What do you suggest (whatever) is worth'?


Good negotiation is an art form and one which every business or salesperson needs. With formal training and practice, everyone can become a competent, if not excellent, negotiator. Negotiation Strategies offers a great foundation upon which to build your negotiation skills and is available as classroom training or, for those who prefer to learn in their own environment as and when suits them, is also provided as online training which is accessible via a PC or other internet connected device via Maguire Training's impressive E-learning platform.

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