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)

The Different Ways of Investing in a Mutual Fund Online

A mutual fund means a fund established in the form of a trust to raise monies through the sale of units to the public or a section of the pubic under one or more schemes for investing in securities, money market instruments, gold or gold related instruments, real estate assets and such other assets

In the past, the way for the mutual fund investor to make investments was through AMC agents or distributors.

Thanks to internet banking, the mutual fund online investor can start investing in mutual funds online any time of the day.

Even on the internet, there are multiple ways for investing in mutual funds online.

AMC Website
The simplest way to start investing in mutual funds online is through the website of AMC (Asset Management Company) or fund house. Most of the fund houses in India operate an online portal. The mutual fund investor can now make any mutual fund investment online. It KYC is mandatory for the investors to invest in mutual fund online.

Mobile App
Nowadays, most of the AMC’s have mobile apps from where the mutual fund online investor can invest in a fund of her/his choice in no time. In case of an Android or iOS device, download the AMC app, complete the KYC if not done already and start making mutual fund investments online.

The mobile app is also highly convenient. One can invest a lump sum amount or start a SIP. By investing through the official website or mobile app of the AMC,

Demat Account
Another well-known way to invest online in mutual funds is through your DEMAT account. You need to contact a stockbroker to open a demat and trading account. Most brokers allow you to open a demat account online.

The mutual fund online investor can easily buy and sell units of any mutual fund schemes. However, do remember that brokers charge a DEMAT Charges .

Third Party Web Portals
There are also third party web portals that allow the investor to make mutual fund investments online. These portals are normally registered with the AMCs as distributors. They earn a commission when you invest through them. Some of them also have mobile apps that allow you to invest in mutual funds online.

Bank Website
In the present day, many of the banks too are registered as distributors of several AMCs. You can visit the official website or your bank and start investing in mutual funds online. Just like third party portals, the banks too earn a commission when one invests through them. Stock exchanges

Investors can invest in mutual funds directly through recognised stock exchanges Whichever mode of investment is used to make online mutual fund investments, do not forget to take the help of a mutual fund calculator to calculate your returns. A mutual fund calculator is a financial mechanism that enables investors to calculate the estimated returns on their mutual fund investments.

This mechanism guides you in your future planning based on estimated returns and your investment objectives.

How To Use Respect To Win More Negotiations

Respect is an often overlooked intrinsic value that contributes to winning more negotiations. The following insights, per how to display respect in a negotiation will give you a few more tools to add to your negotiation repertoire. By implementing them in your negotiations, you’ll win more negotiations.

Display deference:

When possible, don’t attempt to talk over the opposing negotiator. When one person talks over the other, the person initiating the act is saying, what I have to say is more important than what you’re saying. Thus, what you’re saying is not important to me. Even if that’s not the intent of the person initiating the action, the meaning nonverbally can leave the other person feeling intuitively dismissed. In experiencing such a feeling he may become dogmatic at getting his point across, which could lead to a more contemptuous negotiation. To prevent such from occurring, you and the other negotiator can agree at the outset of the negotiation how much time each will have to make a point without being interrupted. That will set the groundwork for a more respectful exchange of information.

Be empathetic:

One of the easiest ways to influence someone is to let them know you understand their plight and that you’re empathetic to it. When people sense that you truly understand and appreciate their perspective they tend to be open to your suggestions, thoughts, and insights. Thus, when negotiating, you should always seek to display empathy (e.g. While discussing a point in which the opposing negotiator feels disrespected, you might say in a slow pace of speech, “I understand how that must have made you feel. I will be respectful of you and the offers/counteroffers you put forth. I will not take advantage of you.”) If this is done at the outset of the negotiation and you follow through with your pronouncement at every opportunity you have during the negotiation, the other negotiator will trust you, be willing to follow your lead (to a point), and feel less apprehensive about concealing herself. That should make the negotiation easier.

Display listening and understanding through your body language:

Have you ever sensed that someone halfheartedly listened to you and then it was confirmed when you posed a question that they couldn’t respond to? How did that make you feel like you were wasting your time, they didn’t respect you enough to give you their undivided attention? To give someone your undivided attention subliminally states that you think what they’re saying is important enough to warrant your attention. Thus, you send a nonverbal message that the person is important. To project such an impression during the negotiation, convey that you’re listening by nodding at the appropriate times and displaying verbal communication (i.e. yeah, aha, etc.) You can also use hand gesture (i.e. finger to temple (I’m contemplating what you’re saying)) to also signal that you’re attuned to what’s being said.

Being respectful and displaying it in a negotiation should not be an earthmoving effort. Thus, you should seek to be respectful whenever and with whomever you negotiate. To the degree the other negotiator feels you respect him, he’ll tend to display more respect for you. In so doing, both of you will display respect for each other which should transfer into a more respectful and easier negotiation… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!