Negotiation Tactic #74 – The False Alarm (Did I Forget to Tell You About…?)

Summary: Attempting to change the outcome of a negotiation after the counterpart thinks everything is settled.

Have you ever been involved in a negotiation and thought you had concluded a deal, only to learn that the other person was just getting started? This is known as The False Alarm.


While you’re purchasing a commercial building, you negotiate with the owner and agree on a price of $940,000. You’re convinced that you have a deal. Later that day, the owner of the building calls to tell you he has presented the offer to his business partner, and his partner reminded him that although the sale price of $940,000 was accurate, he had forgotten that there would be an additional $6,500 in loan charges on the property.


There are several possible counters. First, when the owner tells you about his partner’s increase in price, you could use the tactic of the Withdrawn Offer. Tell him you shared the deal with your business partner and she will not let you pay more than $935,000. (This also employs the tactic of the Higher Authority.) Second, you could expose the owner’s tactic and say that the deal you struck is good only for twenty-four hours. If he does not take the deal right away, you will have to start the negotiations over again. Third, you could employ These Boots Are Made for Walking . Finally, you could utilize the Trade-Off Concession, saying, “Yes, I will pay $940,000 plus the additional loan charges, but only if you paint and re-carpet the entire building.”

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

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