The Secret Negotiating Tricks of the Best Attorneys

So many aspects of our lives are influenced by negotiations and yet so many people spend time learning what it takes to become great at this skill.  Some people who have spent years perfecting this skill are attorneys.  Law is a profession that requires an innate ability to read people and know how to react to what they are saying.  After all, they have to negotiate for a living.  Since negotiation plays such a crucial role in an attorney’s profession, they have learned plenty of tips and tricks along the way.  These same tricks can be utilized in the business world to build better relationships, negotiate salary, make better purchases, and handle disagreements.  Here are just a few important negotiating strategies that are utilized by attorneys. 


In order to be a successful negotiator, you must first learn how to listen.  Attorneys know that every word has a purpose and they need to be able to apply what they hear to their next move.  If you learn to really listen carefully, you will discover what it is that your opponent truly wants.  Listening is a fundamental skill in becoming a good negotiator.

Have Your Ammunition Ready

Any time you are dealing with a negotiation that involves an alternate action if the terms are not met, you must let your opponent know you can, and will, do a specific action if they don’t agree to your terms.  In terms of real estate, for example, you need to let a purchaser know that you have another prospective buyer on the line.  If you are trying to get a certain price on a product, you need to let the seller know you can purchase the same product from a competitor for the same price.  Sometimes the most difficult negotiations can be handled in a matter of minutes if you simply come prepared with the right ammo.

Be Willing to Walk Away

Whenever you are negotiating, one of the most basic skills you must learn early on is the ability to walk away if the deal does not satisfy your requirements.  If you appear desperate and your opponent senses that, you immediately give them a critical advantage.  You must always be willing to walk away from a deal and let it be known.

Find Out What Motivates and Use It

This strategy is directly related to the first one on the list.  You must listen first and hear what the other side is saying and then strive to understand why? If you are able to listen and discover what is truly motivating the other person, you will gain a decided advantage in the negotiation of the deal.  If you know the why, then you know what is really driving the deal and you are armed with the knowledge needed to make it happen.

Never Reveal Your Bottom Line

Negotiating can sometimes be a lengthy and stressful process and one could easily be tempted to say “look, this is my bottom line.”  Resist that temptation and DON’T DO IT! It might seem as though your opponent is just as eager to reach an agreement, but don’t let your guard down.  Once you have spoken those words, you have given up your leverage and it’s too late to turn back.  Once your opponent knows your bottom line, they will start there and keep negotiating you down.