5. Motivators – Fear and Fortune

Power is great to have, but many negotiators have to learn to use influence. Motivating a counterparty who may feel he is more powerful than you can be tricky, but there are some guidelines that may help.

People are motivated by two broad classes of desires:  Hope for Gain and Fear of Loss.

Fear of Loss

Works best for those adopting a Competitive stance.

Works well when counterparties have powerful stakeholders or are under financial/business pressure.

The good news is that Fear of Loss is effective  at closing deals and forcing an fast decision.

Drives transactions

Rushes decisions

Causes emotional responses (sometimes panic)

The problem is that this approach tends to undermine trust and destroy relationships.

These are high-pressure tactics that rely on making your counterparty uncomfortable and insecure.  In many cases, you are threatening him with blunt-force techniques, such as Take It or Leave It and arbitrary deadlines.

Pessimistic / realistic approach

Hope for Gain

Collaborative negotiators should use this approach.  It is closely tied with relationship-building, and tends to rely on friendly, low-pressure, highly optimistic narratives.  You are appealing directly to their hope for personal or professional success.  This requires a mix of positive stories and an affable personality.  

Often used by those in relatively weak positions.  Can be a good approach when your counterparty is Avoiding or Competitive. This can be appropriate when he is in a strong position and has to choose between suppliers or service providers that are relatively undifferentiated.

Requires finesse — especially when the underlying fundamentals are less than exciting.  Tactics like Mirroring,  Pot of Gold and Lets Do Lunch are examples of this positive, optimistic approach.

Drives Relationships, though it can cost you in terms of gravitas and credibility.

Attempts to evoke positive emotional responses like friendship, trust, and sympathy. 

Optimistic / “bull market” approach

Using Power and InfluenceWhich one is appropriate for you?  Download the Balance of Power Gap Analysis Tool

Case Study in Influence:  Download the slideshow – Influence Gatekeepers 


Emotional Triggers

Relationship Tactics

Chap 6:  Controlled Descent

Tactics Database

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *