The Lie As A Negotiating Tactic

Suppose I want to buy a used car from you. Normally, we would start by agreeing about the basic facts: number of miles, dents, etc. I’d run a CarFax report to see if it had been in any accidents. Then we would argue about what the car was worth.

But what if I showed up and even though the CarFax report was clean, I said that I believed that the car had been in an accident.

“Huh? The CarFax report is clean,” you would respond.

“Well, I have heard of plenty of times where you cannot trust CarFax. And I am sure this car has been in an accident.”

At that point you would normally tell me to get lost. But if you had to sell I were the only buyer around you would find yourself fruitlessly arguing with me and trying to prove a negative – that the car had not been in an accident. I would just keep repeating the lie that it had, no matter what evidence you produced to the contrary.

Eventually, I would figure that I had worn you down enough and start my ‘real’ negotiation. Most of the time I would get a better deal than if I started out agreeing with you on the basic facts.

There aren’t a lot of people who use lying as a negotiating tactic because it tends to piss people off so much that they won’t do business with them. But if I am the head of a very large company and brand, or the president of the United States, people have no choice but to do business with me and there is really not a lot of downside to using the technique.

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