Psychological hacks to use in negotiations

When it comes to negotiations, having the edge on the other side can make all the difference.

To do this, often it’s useful to dip into the field of psychology, and apply what we know about human behaviour to help benefit ourselves during the negotiation process. Here’s a few pointers to get you started.

Apply the theory of reciprocity

In 1971, Dennis Regan found that the participants in his study were more likely to reciprocate a kind gesture rather than do a favour for somebody out of the blue. Furthermore, he found that the emotional burden of repaying a favour caused participants to overcompensate their reciprocation.

Simply put, if Person A does something good for Person B, then Person B will often return the favour, but with a greater value.

The lesson to be applied in negotiation is clear, be nice to the other side and they’ll be nice back. For what it’s worth, the reverse is also true, be negative with somebody and they will reciprocate with negativity.

Go big, then small

Otherwise known as the door-in-the-face hack, this ones quite simple. The idea is that if you ask another person for something too big and unreasonable, they’ll likely turn you down. However, you can then try asking for a smaller favour, and the other person will feel compelled to help you out.

You can actually flip this on it’s head too. Start by asking for a small favour to get your foot in the door, and then once that’s been done you can ask for help with a bigger favour. This is due to cognitive dissonance, and has been studied and named as the Benjamin Franklin Effect.

Boost your own confidence

A confident person is more likely to get exactly what they want from any situation, not just in the workplace or during a sales deal.

Fortunately, it’s really easy to boost your self-confidence by exercising regularly. In the immediacy after exercise, the body releases endorphins, which make you feel all good inside. In the long term, weight loss or muscle building can do wonders for your self-image, mental strength, and ultimately, your confidence.

And if exercise isn’t for you, never mind – you can literally fake it till you make it. Look the part, act the part, speak the part, and the actual self-confidence will follow.

Avoid ambiguity

Not only do you want to boost your own confidence, you want to boost the confidence and trust people have in you.

A sure fire way to lose credibility and trust is by fastening ‘I think‘ or ‘I believe‘ to either the start or end of your sentences. Using these in a business deal means the other side won’t take you seriously, as it doesn’t sound like you are completely sure about what you’re saying. From here on out, try ‘I know‘ instead.

For more help on boosting your chances in a negotiation, see our courses on negotiation skills training.

Our Top 10 Do’s and Do Not’s for Cold Calling

Cold calling, or telemarketing, is a tough, but rewarding role. Dealing with rejection, negotiating the best deal, communicating with picky clients – it all takes a person with a high quality, rounded skill set to succeed.

To help you along the way, and give you a better chance of telemarketing success, we’ve listed our top ten Do’s and Do Not’s for cold calling below. Be sure to let us know how many Do’s you’re already using to your advantage, as well as how many Do Not’s you’re guilty of!

If you’d like further information, or to look at taking the next step up with your telemarketing skills, then feel free to get in touch regarding one of our cold calling courses.


  1. Try to stay positive (not always easy but will make all the difference!)
  2. Watch the tone of your voice
  3. State your name, company and reason for your call clearly right at the start of the call
  4. Be thoroughly prepared to make the maximum impact during the first 20 seconds of the cold call (use a script)
  5. Try to find a “hook” for your call e.g. is your prospect new in their role or is their company expanding?
  6. Be prepared for objections from your prospect
  7. Be proud of your product/service and of what you do
  8. Ask the right questions – it will boost your credibility and show the client you care
  9. Listen carefully to your prospects in case you miss precious information or even buying signals
  10. Always seek to agree next actions with your prospect during the call

Do Not’s

  1. Don’t speak too fast – a common issue!
  2. Don’t allow negative thinking to affect your motivation
  3. Don’t be too deferential – you risk losing your credibility
  4. Don’t be pushy or overtly sales-y to prospects
  5. Don’t be rude to gatekeepers
  6. Don’t interrupt your prospect
  7. Don’t make assumptions about your prospect – everyone is an individual!
  8. Don’t allow the need to achieve KPIs / Corporate Targets to get in the way of the need to have meaningful conversations with your prospects (quality over quantity)
  9. Don’t allow personal preferences to affect your style with prospects
  10. Don’t adopt a one size fits all approach – vary your communication style to fit the prospect!
Work colleagues actively listen during a meeting

The Power of Active Listening

A key part of our communication skills training is to practice our delegates ability to actively listen to one another. And for good reason, too.

For the most part, we humans aren’t great at listening to one another. Sure, we’ll listen and we’ll most likely pick up the gist of what we’re being told, but we’re too easily distracted – by our environment, by another conversation, even by our own thoughts. In fact, research from the University of Minnesota shows we only really remember up to half of what we hear.

Active listening, however, is a powerful communication technique that requires a person to concentrate solely on the person speaking in an effort to process, understand, and retain everything that is being said so that you can respond effectively. When’s the last time you can truly say you listened to someone with that level of focus and attention?

In the world of business, the difference between how we usually listen and actively listening can be the difference between closing a deal or just missing out. Think about it – what if a key piece of information isn’t picked up on because you weren’t concentrating properly, or you misconstrue what the other person has said?

By actively listening to a prospective customer or client, we can start to build a relationships and level of trust with more ease, by quickly establishing rapport. This means we can better understand what it is they need from us, allowing your level of service to improve measurably.

And it’s not just limited to the workplace – actively listening to your friends, family or partner will only help to strengthen those relationships.

We’re big advocates of active listening. It’s too important of a skill to not use to your advantage, both in your work and personal life. For more information on active listening, or ways to improve your communication in general, then feel free to get in touch, or visit our communication skills training page to learn more about the course.