Lets be honest, how many of us can actually say that everyone we have dealt with has been a pussycat? Its unlikely, to say the least, that everyone is as accommodating and interested in a joint gain as you. So how do you cope when you are faced with someone who terrifies you?

You can’t always simply choose not to negotiate with someone because they are difficult. Sometime we have no choice – your boss has told you to, you need this particular thing/service he/she has or you have no alternative.

How can you still succeed when facing someone who wants you to fail, in order for them to beat you?


1) Firstly, remember its not personal. Difficult negotiators are trying to manipulate the outcome in their favour, but anything they say or do is simply a means to that end. Its not because the hate you, its because they want to beat you. Don’t take any of their behavior as a direct assault against you. Just understand it for what it is: an attempt to rattle you, put you off your game and make the outcome more likely to be unfavourable for you.

Don’t let their behavior affect the outcome. Its what they want.


2) Don’t show weakness. You might be terrified, nervous or even upset, but don’t let them see it. If they sense that their behavior is working to unnerve you, they will push harder until they have won. Have a confident air – and the best way to do that is to be thoroughly prepared. Know everything you need to about what you want and try to understand what they want. Be able to answer any question about your positions. Be able to respond positively to anything thrown at you. Be able to stand firm in your entry positions, and only move when there is something you are getting back from them.

Only do a deal on the merits of the case and the principles of trading.


3) Remember they want something from you too. If they didn’t, there would not be a negotiation.  Find out what they want and trade for the things that you want.

Assertive conditional trading: If you …then I…


Oh, and good luck!