The win-lose negotiation technique - the good-bad guy

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Team bargaining enables the use of win-lose negotiation techniques, which are impossible to use when only two people are involved in the talks. These tactics include the good-bad guy method, for example. It is used not only when reaching an agreement between contractors - it is also used by police officers during interrogations. What is the good-bad guy win-lose negotiation technique and how to defend against it? You will learn in this article.

The good-bad guy win-lose negotiation technique and its application

The good-bad guy is a win-lose negotiating technique that is supposed to affect the emotions of the people involved in the conversations. It is used most often when the other party insists on its position and no rational arguments appeal to it. The partner loses his patience and decides to appeal to the feelings of relentless negotiators. For this purpose, a small performance is organized.

Example 1.

Kowalski and Nowak have been negotiating with X representatives for several days. The partners care about time, and the other party does not want to make even a small concession in terms of delivery conditions, which are crucial for Kowalski and Nowak. To increase the pace of talks and persuade the other party to reduce their demands, the partners decided to use the win-lose good-bad guy negotiating technique.

Kowalski stood up abruptly as one of the X representatives repeated his arguments for the eighth time. He slammed his hand on the table top and shouted:

- What does it mean that you do not want to even agree to extend the delivery time by 1 day ?! There are delays on the route for which we are not responsible. It is absurd that you keep using your arguments. We have already given up our demands many times and made concessions on issues that were important to you. I can't do that anymore! You are mocking us! This is not how serious contractors are treated! Kowalski started waving his fists and left the room. There was silence. Nowak spoke up.

- My friend lost his nerves. The issue of delivery is our priority. Please understand that if you agreed to extend the delivery time by 5 days, it would mean a lot to us. I know Kowalski is already on the verge of emotional exhaustion. I don't know what decisions he is able to make.

Company X looked at each other slightly, and their eyes were hesitant. Nowak felt that the partners should change their mind in a moment. Enraged Kowalski burst into the room.

- You know what? I thought about it all, made one phone call, and invited your competitors for an interview. Maybe we can agree with them about these terms of delivery. I do not know if it makes sense to discuss with you again (Kowalski knew that company X fiercely competes with company Y and would not agree to give them an attractive contract for nothing in the world).

- We can still renegotiate the terms ...

- Nothing of that! I have already made my decision. Kowalski's cell phone rattled. He left the room.

Nowak looked at the representatives of the X company. It was clear that he was not satisfied with the way things were going. He looked through the papers again. A man representing the interests of company X replied:

- You seem like a sane man. Can't we get along alone? After all, you can make your own decisions on behalf of the company. No offense, but Kowalski ...

- Yes, his emotions sometimes get carried away. - Nowak thoughtfully said - I would like you to carry out this undertaking with us. Honestly, I have some objections to working with your competitor. I think that if you would only agree to these 5 days, I will talk to Kowalski and convince him to change his mind. He just lost his emotions. Nowak smiled sympathetically, and the representatives of the X company nodded their heads in agreement.

Representatives of the X company finally agreed to Nowak's proposal. They didn't want to talk to the aggressive Kowalski anymore. This is how they succumbed to the good-bad guy technique.

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Negotiation technique win-lose the good-bad guy - ways of defense

The good-bad guy tactic uses a simple mechanism: being bullied by one person, we are more likely to get along with their friendly partner. Falling into an emotional swing, we want to get out of the uncomfortable situation as soon as possible, so we agree to the offer made by a reasonable and kind negotiator. An agreement with him guarantees that no one will threaten us anymore.

How to defend yourself against the good and bad guys in negotiations? If you find that this win-lose negotiating technique is being used, try to turn it into a joke when the aggressive negotiator runs out of the room, smile widely and say:

- I saw something similar on TV. This is how suspects are interviewed. I hope you are not trying to influence me in this way.

The other side should rush out and stop using the good-bad guy tactic.


The good-bad guy is a win-lose negotiating technique. Defending against it may consist of asking the other party's negotiator to change, taking a break, applying a warning, or leaving.