Negotiation Tactic #67 – Salami

Summary: Asking for concessions one at a time, to make them more palatable.

Few people eat a whole salami with one swallow. Salami just goes down easier if you cut it into small pieces. The same principle applies to negotiation. Your counterpart will be more likely to make major concessions with less resistance if you cut the concessions into several small pieces.


Kate is in the market for a new desk, chair, and dresser. The total furniture set she wants retails for $850. She has set a goal of purchasing the set for $700. If she walks right up to a salesman and says she will buy the set if he sells it for $700, he will probably tell her to get lost. She stands a much higher chance of getting the set at her price if she uses the Salami tactic.

First, Kate asks the salesman what kind of discount he will give if she purchases all three components at once. He might agree to a 10 percent discount. Next, she asks if he will take another $50 off if she takes the floor model. Finally, she mentions that she will buy the furniture set immediately if the salesperson will throw in the extended warranty on the desk. Before you know it, all those little concessions add up to $150.


If the salesperson realizes he is getting the Salami, he has several options. He can expose Kate’s technique, pointing out that he has made concession after concession, and the negotiation is no longer win-win. Second, he can blowup, using the YIKES! You’ve Got to Be Kidding tactic. When Kate asks for one more concession, he can express utter disbelief, acting as though she has finally introduced the straw that has broken the camel’s back. His other option is to counter, using the Trade-Off Concession by telling Kate, “I will give you the extended warranty on the desk if you will buy the extended warranty on the chair and dresser.”

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

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