Negotiation Tactic #37 – There is More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

Summary: Preparing multiple options for resolving deal points before a negotiation begins.

In a negotiation, the counterpart with the greatest number of viable options usually gets the best outcome. A good tactic is to walk into a negotiation with three to five possibilities for accomplishing your goal. This tactic empowers you because when your counterpart puts a roadblock in one direction, you have other viable alternatives.

Some of the most difficult negotiators to deal with are unilateral thinkers who believe there is only one way to do things. When one counterpart won’t look at options, the negotiation is likely to result in a lose-win outcome.


You would like to hire a star salesperson for your company. Your boss has enforced a salary ceiling of $70,000 for the position. But during an interview, you discover that the salesperson you want to hire has a base salary of $75,000 at her current job and will not leave for less.

You reopen the negotiations with a different proposal. You offer the salesperson a base salary of $70,000 but promise to give a $15,000 bonus if she can reach sales of $500,000. This arrangement is more acceptable to your boss, and the salesperson thinks she will have no problem selling $500,000 worth of your product.


The salesperson could use the tactic of I’ll Think About It and Get Back To You Later, to have time to evaluate the new proposal. If her goals and your’s are still some distance apart, she could try the tactic of I’ll Meet You in the Middle.

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

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