Negotiation Skills — The Salami Technique

Some negotiators just love to play tactical games. In this article we will look at one their favourite negotiation tactics – the Salami technique – and think about how to rebuff it.

Salami sausages are big things (often spicy) that are eaten a slice at a time. They would be indigestible if taken in a single large piece. This aspect has led negotiators to use the name for a negotiation technique that tries to do just that: to win concessions in small doses (slices) when the other party would probably reject them if they were put on the table all at once. The technique is often used against a party that is mainly concerned with damage limitation.

Consider a tough union negotiating with management. Management would really just like to keep the status quo (damage limitation) but the union negotiators would like a whole host of goodies to take back for their members. These could include a pay rise, more holidays, flexible working hours, private health membership, better pension arrangements, improved canteen, increased allowances and so on. It is not difficult for the union to make a case for each of these and they can probably add to the list.

If the union negotiators use the salami tactic they will present just one of their demands for discussion and push hard to reach agreement. Let’s say they focus on a 6% pay rise and after a long discussion and some haggling they agree on 4%. Deal done, except there is more to come. That’s just the first slice of the salami and there is a whole sausage in the cupboard.

The next slice might be the holiday arrangements. The current 23 days is from a bygone age. ‘Other employers’ have agreed to 25 days plus public holidays. Let’s say they eventually reach agreement at 24 days this year and 25 days next year. Good! The managers might by now be congratulating themselves on their rusty negotiation skills and their damage limitation but the union representatives have been busy polishing their negotiation skills.

‘We would now like to discuss something that is very dear to the hearts of our members, the need for flexible working hours.’ The slicing of the salami sausage continues: private health, pension, canteen, allowances, and so on. By the end of the negotiations, when the management team add it all up they are staggered at what they have conceded, slice by slice. None of the individual items seemed all that great at the time but – add them all together and the cumulative effect is astonishing.

What went wrong?

The management negotiators were beguiled by one of the standard tactics used by skilled negotiators. Of course, presented like this, the salami technique looks so obvious that you might think that no management team could be so stupid as to be caught by it. However, just as a simple magic trick can seem incredible when performed by a skilled magician, so even simple negotiation skills like the salami technique can produce amazing results when used by skilled and experienced negotiators.

The salami is not restricted to management-union negotiations. Any negotiator who has a list of things on which they want to gain agreement can use it. Try it when you next buy a car. Are you buying just one item, the car? Or are you gaining agreement on several things: buying the car, filling the petrol tank, replacing worn tyres if it’s a used car, a free service next year, alloy wheels… and whatever else you can think of. Will they lose the sale over a tank of petrol or one new tyre?

So, what do you do if you are on the receiving end and the other party tries to salami you?

Of course, your first line of defence is to recognise what they are doing and your second is to put a stop to it. You will need to be assertive about this but the response is quite straightforward. The salami tactic works because the person being sliced does not recognise what is happening. Once you do, you can fight it.

How? Simply refuse agreement on any one slice until you have everything out on the table. ‘Is there anything else you want to discuss as part of these negotiations?’ Do not discuss details until you have formally agreed that everything is out in the open. Then put forward a proposal on a collective agreement — bundle the lot together.

The discussion can now begin in earnest and you can use your negotiation skills. You might trade one slice of salami off against another by offering some flexibility on, say, item one provided that they drop, say, items two and three. Continue like that until you are happy with the deal, then close.

Good luck! And watch out for that spicy sausage!

Author: Tony Atherton
© Tony Atherton 2005)

Monogrammed Bathrobes For Kids – A Present Fit For A King

It was coming up to the birthday of my eldest son a few weeks ago. As a parent it gets harder and harder each year, as the children get more street wise, to find a present that is both acceptable to a teenage boy as well as enabling you as a loving parent to keep the coolness that every parent tries to hang on to.

After many weeks of trying to pre-empt what he would like as a gift imagine our surprise when he approached me one morning asking for a hooded bathrobe with his initials on it, just like he’d seen a pop star or other wearing some MTV programme or other. Where on earth was I going to find a hooded monogrammed kids bathrobe.

When I was a child my birthday present were usually pretty basic things, a new football or a book or something of that ilk, nothing too taxing for my parents, I don’t think they were too bothered about trying to keep any kind of coolness going, my amusement of wondering what my parents would say if I’d have asked them for a hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe did nothing to ease my worries as to where I was going to start looking.

In the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think what my son was hoping for with hooded kid’s monogrammed bathrobe; was he hoping to emulate his gangster rap heroes with his newly acquired fashion item or was he looking to achieve the appearance of a junior mafia don?

These thoughts were more of a puzzle than a concern though and would just pop into my head at random times through out the day, maybe as diversionary tactics by my brain to detract from the main issue, where would I get my hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe from?

Obviously I didn’t want to disappoint my kid so I thought I’d better take a bit of time to research what options were available to me as far as hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe go.

After much research I discovered that there was indeed quite a demand for hooded kids bathrobes, generally the ones available are of a lightweight soft cotton weave bathrobe which are used by many of the finest tropical hotels but I didn’t think that this is quite what my kid had in mind, he wanted a rough and tough looking hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe that had attitude, not something straight out of Fantasy Island.

Imagine my amazement when on my travels around the country I was thumbing through a local newspaper only to see an advertisement for a Turkish company that were in town for one week only selling bathrobes of the very finest quality in all shapes and sizes, I had to make contact with them while I could.

I found a contact number and after much confusion finely described what it exactly was that I needed, a hooded kid’s monogrammed bathrobe, and when I wanted it for.

I chose a blue bathrobe, terry interior cotton outside with gold piping and with a plush feel to it. I gave them my kid’s initials and the order was placed.

The order for the hooded kid’s monogrammed bathrobe was e mailed directly to the Turkish bathrobe manufacturers [http://designer-bathrobes.com/The_News/Latest_News/Turkish_Bathrobes] and within 3 weeks a parcel arrived on my doorstep, a week earlier than quoted.

The bathrobe was magnificent, my son’s face was a real picture on his birthday, I was the coolest Dad in town and everything was perfect.

I have to say I love the hooded kids bathrobe so much I’ve ordered myself one.

Like father like son.

Online Beginners – Build a Successful Business Online From Just a Few Traffic Building Techniques

You only need to have real success in a small number of traffic building areas to achieve a successful business online. It is a serious mistake to try to tackle too many things at once and find that you don’t do any of them properly or only half do them so you don’t find out if they could work.

The real problem is that there are so very many ways of making contact with people via the Internet so it is easy to be tempted into trying everything. Even if you’ve got great products and a great website you’ve got to get traffic to that site.

When I first started online, I signed up for one expensive video course which listed 17 main ways of generating traffic and went into considerable detail on most of them. The course instructor said that you should only select some of these and become an expert in them before moving on to others techniques.

Sound advice, but despite that I still tried as many as I could to find out what suited my style. Unfortunately, I didn’t even become a ‘Jack of All Trades’ because of insufficient technical knowledge. So I just kept spinning my wheels for months by trying one method and then another and then back to one I had tried before.

Finally I decided to try to define what sort of traffic I really wanted when I eventually got some experience. I tried to identify what areas I should really be concentrating on given my lack of skill in such things as video marketing, which I was told is the big one for the future. Maybe it is, but it would be a good idea to catch up with the present first if you’re a beginner online!

Obviously, having taken an ‘educated’ guess at the visitor profile I should be targeting, I was able to eliminate some of those 17 ways of generating traffic ether because they didn’t fit the profile I had thought up or because they were too difficult.

By this time, I had virtually gone full circle with traffic methods but having done so I’ve come back to good old fashioned keyword research which is the basis of so many other traffic techniques. I know this sounds elementary but it’s so easy to get confused by all the ‘novelty’ methods that experts throw at you every day.

Therefore, I recommend that you spend quality time on keyword research for your niche and then concentrate on Article Marketing and posting on Forums. The best method I’ve discovered is to use Google’s AdWords research tool which is great for finding keyword phrases that are frequently searched but which have relatively little competition according to the indicators on this site.

But in addition to Articles and Forums, advertising sites like Craigslist, USFreeAds and maybe BackPage might be good – they are only classified ads but have a huge circulation and they are easy to use. Again keywords can play a major part.

Whatever methods of traffic generation you use, you must have a good looking website so that visitors will want to see what you’ve got for them. I’ve found that as an online beginner, I didn’t know what a good website consisted of so I got a professional to build one for me.

Unfortunately, I ended up with a website that looked good but definitely wasn’t in tune with the style of the site content. Even worse, I didn’t know how to tweak it and I certainly dare not carry out any major alterations. Once again the experts had got the better of me!