Summary: Repeatedly stating a position and refusing to look at options.
One of the most difficult negotiators to deal with is the unilateral thinker who can see only one possible outcome to a negotiation. This negotiator’s attitude is, “My way or the highway.”
An airline passenger is irate because the first-class reservation she thought was confirmed for her flight is not in the airline’s system and no other first-class seats are available. To every option the reservations specialist suggests, the woman reiterates, “My reservation is in the system. You have to find my seat.”
There are several counters that may be effective in this situation. Apologizing and responding to the customer’s frustration with empathy is a great place to start. Brainstorming alternative solutions with the passenger or suggesting other alternatives that might work could also be effective. For example, since no first-class seats are available, the airline employee might offer the passenger a seat in a section of coach that is close to the front of the plane. She might also try the Tactic of Higher Authority by asking, “On the off chance that my supervisor can find you a first-class seat on another flight, would that be agreeable to you?”
But some people never stop Playing Their Broken Record. If that is the case, the airline employee could acknowledge the passenger’s emotions (using the tactic of I Feel Your Pain) and simply say, “I understand this is a very frustrating situation and you are not happy. Of the possible solutions I have suggested, which one would work best for you?”
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?