Negotiation Tactic #10 – Yikes! You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

Summary: Expressing disbelief to encourage a counterpart to make a better offer.

Successful negotiators are good at acting surprised. They communicate the YIKES! You’ve Got to Be Kidding! message with a flinch, a sour face, or an expression of disbelief anytime a counterpart mentions the price or conditions of a product or service. We used to think this tactic was rather silly until we realized how effective it was when someone used it on us! Failing to act surprised when price or conditions are mentioned could encourage your counterpart to take advantage of you.


A salesperson says, “The price for printing hard cover copies of your book will be seven thousand dollars for a thousand copies.” The author responds, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Why so much? We can create an e-book for just about nothing.”


The salesperson could respond to the author’s disbelief with “Of course, that price includes typesetting, printing and a high gloss, four-color cover. Plus, not everyone has an e-reader.”

When someone uses the YIKES! tactic on you, you have to defend your product or service on its own merit. Many people flinch because they lack knowledge of a product, service, or price. So do not give concessions until you have a solid understanding of why the person flinched. Inexperienced negotiators tend to give up too much too soon.

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

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