A few years ago, I was asked to train Police Hostage Negotiators on how to get into the mind of an offender in order to negotiate more effectively.
Because some clients are prone to acting badly, these tips may come in handy.
The principles you have to work with are pretty much the same.
You are dealing with a person who has intense feeling.
You need to have a very clear outcome.
You need to protect your downside (reduce your risk as much as possible).
Here are some tips when negotiating with a terrorist or difficult client:
1. Smile (all negotiations are emotional).
2. Use first names.
3. Get the other side to talk or offer first.
4. Use a calming, slow voice (put the other person in a good mood).
5. Use downward inflection (lower the pitch of your voice) with this kind of line: “There is no other way.”
6. Use upward inflection with questions like: “So this seems important to you?”
7. Repeat the last few words that someone says before starting your next point.
8. Try to get them to say, “That’s right.”
9. Never split the difference: Hold strong to your demands.
10. “Fair” is negotiation’s f-bomb. Use it wisely.
Good luck with your negotiations. Hopefully, you’ll only need these tips for difficult clients.
Learn what to do if your client objects to your fees here.