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Negotiation Tactic #28 – Calling Your Bluff

Summary: Telling a counterpart to go ahead and act on a “threat” or “challenge” she has issued.

Once in a while, one party in a negotiation may say something outrageous in the belief that his counterpart does not have enough information to challenge him. The appropriate tactic in this situation is to simply call the first party’s bluff.

Example

A home seller tells a potential buyer, “We have already had an offer to buy this house at a price higher than yours.” The buyer calls the seller’s bluff, asking, “Why didn’t you sell your house to the buyer with the higher offer?” This is a great question, since it will probably help Uncover the Real Reason the home seller is still negotiating.

A second common example is a slight variation. A person buying a product might say, “I don’t even need your product.” Once again, the appropriate question is, “If you do not need my product, why are you even taking the time to talk with me?”

Counter

You do not need a counter to this tactic if you are negotiating honestly and providing full disclosure. In the event that a counterpart tries Calling Your Bluff with a good question, simply reply, “That’s a great question,” and give the honest reason why you are negotiating with him.

Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?

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