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4 Manipulative Business English Negotiation Strategies to Watch Out For

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You’ve finally got a meeting with a prospect to close an important deal. Naturally, you become nervous. Not because your manager is expecting you to come back with enthusiastic news, but because you’ve just been told the client only speaks English. Yikes! The pressure kicks in. You know that your business English skills are great, but it’s not always about the language. 

You’ve got to brush up on some negotiation strategies just in case. Most importantly, you need to watch out for specific negotiation tactics that might give you the short end of the deal. Here are some manipulative negotiation tricks you might want to look out for: 

1. The negotiation decoy

The negotiation decoy means to add extra false interests to your agenda which you can bargain with, without affecting your real interests. 

Be careful with this one. It’s extremely difficult to tell if someone is adding bogus interests to later shed it off for a better deal. Listen closely to the language the business prospect is using while negotiating. Try to dig deeper into the conversation and use your business English skills to weave out possible falsehoods. 

Ask questions like: 

“What do you plan to use X product (or service, or interest) for and how will it impact your business?”

“How is (the interest) crucial to your business?”

2. Good cop, bad cop 

Good cop, bad cop is when one member of the opposing team is demanding and inflexible (the bad cop), and the other appears to be pleasant and reasonable (the good cop). 

This technique is acting at its worst. When done well, you’ll get bamboozled right out of a good deal. When negotiating with two or more people on the opposite side, make sure you can spot out the “nice guy” from the “bad guy”. It may have been set up so that you pay more attention to the good cop, and give in to their faulty deals. 

The best way to counteract this technique is not to get emotionally involved and use your best business English language. Try to ignore the reactions of the bad cop, and continue negotiating normally with the good cop without giving up your interests. 

3. Take it or leave it 

This one is pretty straightforward. Take it or leave it is when the opposing partner appears as if they are ready to break off the negotiations unless their interests are met. 

It’s pretty tough to call this bluff. Your options are limited: you can stop negotiations and hope to meet at a later date, or ignore the threat and continue the negotiation with your business English language as if you have not heard it.

4. Negotiation silence

Negotiation silence is when your opponent stops talking during the negotiation in the hope that you will become uncomfortable and want to concede to break the silence.

Don’t fall for the awkward silence trick. Instead, use your hefty business English skills and restate your offer. Do not make any suggestions or concessions. In extreme cases, get up and walk out the door in hopes that your opponent will call you back and continue reasonably.

Brush up on Your Business English Skills for Better Negotiation

At English Services, we offer business English negotiation lesson plans that help you not fall for these tricks and many others. Negotiating in a foreign language doesn’t mean getting the worst part of the deal. We’ll help you negotiate to get the best deal for your business. 

To learn more about this topic and others, see our services here