‘The Negotiators’ is a series of articles that bring to life the most common types of negotiator: what they are like, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as approaches that will help you negotiate with them. Designed to be practical tools, you may find value in referring to the set for a quick start in reading and handling those you encounter.

The Theorist

“I’ve been on a course”.

The Theorist has studied negotiation. They may have mediated or done a job at some point early in their career that required some selling or agreement on sales. But they haven’t really been there, done it. It’s great they have knowledge of the process of negotiation and what’s ideal. If their ego isn’t too big they will be open to learning and trying to make it work.

A bit of an idealist, this character will try to trade nicely and release value with the other side. In a long term, strong, positive relationship this is well received.

“Well, that’s nice, but have you actually negotiated anything other than a car?” Back in the real world the Theorist risks being taken for a ride. If the other party has the balance of power, they are likely to use it and ride roughshod over this one.

Favorite Film – American Beauty

Favorite Book – Getting to Yes

Favorite Food – Kale Salad

How to work with them

Doing anything that isn’t ‘by the book’ will unbalance the Theorist: “but it's not in the manual”. If you have the power, they are there to be over-powered – canon fodder. If you yourself know what you’re doing you can let them think they are in control of the process, while guiding them down the path you want them to follow.

Make them work a little and they will feel like they are now a battle-hardened veteran. A little bit of satisfaction will go a long way with the Theorist. But remember to provide them enough to go back and tell it like they used their knowledge to get the best possible deal. They will sell it for you.

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