Negotiation Tactic #47 – Stalling for Concessions

Summary: Delaying a negotiation or decision to encourage the impatient counterpart to make a better offer.

Salespeople are typically short on patience when they smell a deal in the air. In fact, sales trainers sometimes teach that if you do not strike while the iron is hot, you might lose the deal. But impatience may encourage a negotiator to make unnecessary concessions. Knowing this, a savvy counterpart might stall for time, trying to make the impatient negotiator nervous and more willing to make trade-offs.


A saleswoman prepares a proposal for a customer and, over the next few days, calls two or three times to ask what the customer thinks of the proposal. The customer never calls back because he is stalling, hoping the saleswoman will be willing to make some concessions if she feels he isn’t particularly interested in making a deal. Worried that the customer might be doing business with a competitor, the saleswoman gets nervous. Although she is not sure if the customer has even had time to review any of her proposals, the saleswoman leaves a message that her “numbers are ballpark, based on the information given, and there is room to negotiate.”


You should never discount a price before your counterpart tells you there is a need to do so. The best counter in this situation would probably be for the saleswoman to wait patiently for a reply. Or she could send an email to the customer, stating, “I have tried to get in contact with you several times over the last week, and for whatever reason, we have been unable to connect.” Under no circumstances should she leave any more phone messages.

When a counterpart is obviously stalling, be patient. Don’t keep using the same tactic to make contact. Think like a dolphin and do something different.

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

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