Negotiation Tactic #28 – Calling Your Bluff

Summary: Telling a counterpart to go ahead and act on a “threat” or “challenge” she has issued.

Once in a while, one party in a negotiation may say something outrageous in the belief that his counterpart does not have enough information to challenge him. The appropriate tactic in this situation is to simply call the first party’s bluff.


A home seller tells a potential buyer, “We have already had an offer to buy this house at a price higher than yours.” The buyer calls the seller’s bluff, asking, “Why didn’t you sell your house to the buyer with the higher offer?” This is a great question, since it will probably help Uncover the Real Reason the home seller is still negotiating.

A second common example is a slight variation. A person buying a product might say, “I don’t even need your product.” Once again, the appropriate question is, “If you do not need my product, why are you even taking the time to talk with me?”


You do not need a counter to this tactic if you are negotiating honestly and providing full disclosure. In the event that a counterpart tries Calling Your Bluff with a good question, simply reply, “That’s a great question,” and give the honest reason why you are negotiating with him.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular on the blog
beyond-engagement-cover_184x228Free White Paper Beyond Engagement:  8 Proven Strategies to Workplace Excellence

Learn how your organization can achieve results through Workplace Excellence

Download Now

The Manager's Toolkit

The Manager's Toolkit is the one stop action planning website for becoming an even stronger, more effective leader. Managers will read recommendations, related articles, suggested actions, and watch informative videos that will guide them through improving their leadership skills.

Client LoginLearn More