Negotiation is a game of strategy between buyers and sellers. A study analyzed 449 buyers involved in deals worth $2.59 billion, to shed light on common buyer tactics. This post covers seven key strategies buyers use to get better deals, and how sellers can effectively respond. By understanding these tactics, you’ll be better prepared to negotiate successfully and achieve your goals.

Categories of Negotiation Tactics and Strategic Responses

1. Pressure Tactics

Explanation: Pressure tactics are the buyer’s way of throwing urgency and stress into the mix, hoping to fluster the seller into swift concessions. They might wield deadlines, conjure up threats of competition, or issue a so-called “final offer,” all in a bid to corner the seller into hasty decisions.


  • Stay Calm and Prepared: The key here is anticipation. When you foresee these pressure moves, you can practice calm, collected responses and have your strategy well-prepared.
  • Know Your Limits: Clearly understand your non-negotiables and be ready to walk away if the pressure threatens these core terms.
  • Create Options: Diversify your paths to negotiation success. Multiple routes mean you’re never truly cornered.

2. Distraction and Misdirection

Explanation: This tactic is all about smoke and mirrors—steering your focus away from key issues or inflating minor points to distract from the main objectives.


  • Focus on Agendas: Keep your discussions tightly bound to a pre-set agenda to avoid being led astray.
  • Clarify Intentions: Regularly prompt the buyer to connect their points back to the overarching negotiation goals.
  • Educate: Use these diversions to reaffirm the value and benefits of your offer, guiding the conversation back to your strengths.

3. Value and Cost Manipulation

Explanation: Here, the buyer pokes holes in your pricing and value proposition. They might anchor low, object to prices, or demand more value without cost increases.


  • Anchor First: Establish your price and terms early to set the negotiation’s baseline.
  • Add Value Instead of Discounting: Propose additional services or products to enhance value rather than cutting prices.
  • Transparent Communication: Explain your pricing and value clearly, making it hard for the buyer to undermine your position.

4. Emotional and Behavioral Tactics

Explanation: This is the buyer’s emotional playbook—using displays of anger, frustration, or the classic good cop/bad cop routine to rattle you.


  • Maintain Professionalism: Stay calm and professional regardless of their emotional intensity.
  • Train for Emotional Responses: Prepare through role-playing and scenario planning to handle these emotional manipulations with ease.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Use your emotional radar to distinguish genuine concerns from mere tactics and respond appropriately.

5. Endgame Tactics

Explanation: As the negotiation nears closure, buyers might throw in last-minute demands or attempt to renegotiate settled terms to squeeze out extra concessions.


  • Firm Flexibility: Be flexible in your approach but firm on your core requirements.
  • Concession Strategy: Decide in advance what, if any, concessions you’re willing to make in the closing stages.
  • Close Efficiently: Aim to wrap up negotiations quickly once endgame tactics start, minimizing unnecessary concessions.

6. Stalling and Delay Tactics

Explanation: This involves buyers dragging their feet, hoping to frustrate you into making concessions or simply waiting for more favorable conditions.


  • Set Timelines: Propose clear timelines and milestones to keep the negotiation on track.
  • Follow-Up Persistently: Maintain momentum by regularly checking in and pushing the negotiation forward.
  • Adjust Strategies: Reevaluate your approach if delays seem strategic, applying pressure or incentives to prompt decisions.

7. Memory and Agreement Tactics

Explanation: Buyers might suddenly “forget” previous agreements or dispute them to reopen negotiations on terms you thought were settled.


  • Document Rigorously: Keep meticulous records of all agreements and communications, sharing these with the buyer to confirm details.
  • Immediate Clarification: Address discrepancies promptly and assertively.
  • Consistent Reinforcement: Regularly reiterate the terms and agreements throughout the negotiation to ensure alignment.

Understanding these tactics and preparing tailored responses enables you to steer the negotiation process effectively, aiming for outcomes that align with your goals while neutralizing potential manipulations from buyers.

Knowing these buyer tactics and how to respond gives you an edge in negotiations. Practice these strategies to stay in control and reach agreements that work for you. While negotiating will always be challenging, these tools will help you turn tricky situations into opportunities. Stay alert, be prepared, and keep your main goals in mind throughout the process.