Here’s How to Tell When People are Trying to Screw You

Clayton Wood > Blog > Uncategorized > Here’s How to Tell When People are Trying to Screw You

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As a marketing professional and a frequent traveler, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with different types of people over the years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people, it’s that while many are good, there are those who will try to screw you. This is especially true if you’re traveling – people will try to overcharge you for different products and services, especially if they know you have virtually no knowledge of the market in their area.

What I’ve learned in my travels is that negotiating, regardless of whether you use it in business, for travels, or just to negotiate with someone you know, is a technical skill – and one that can be learned. Another thing I’ve learned is that you can use these negotiating skills for almost anything, with its most useful application being in negotiating for business.

So how do you know if you’re being duped? Here’s how:

The Rule of Reciprocity

The rule is pretty simple and straightforward: people will give you something back when you give them something first. In business, this usually means information.

Here’s a tip: you don’t necessarily have to share business information with the person you are negotiating with. People do business with people they are familiar with, people who connect with them on some level. It’s a traditional business negotiation concept, but one that still applies to this day: build trust and rapport. Share a little bit of personal information – pets, children, your most recent holiday. If they refuse to offer up information in return even though you feel you’ve established good rapport, you need to be cautious of that particular negotiation.

Balloon Forecasting

This is a dirty negotiation tactic that’s easy to spot because it involves figures. Some businesses give a revenue projection that is way above what their historical figures show, just to try and make a good impression.

Don’t be blinded by the projected revenue value. Instead, focus on the historical data presented to you. You can make future bonuses later when accelerated growth actually takes place.

The Win-Win Situation


An unspoken rule of negotiations is to reach an agreement that benefits all parties involved. This is why even though it’s recommended that you go into negotiations knowing your strengths and their exploitable weaknesses, you still need to reach a consensus that makes everyone happy and gives you a beneficial win-win situation.

A good way of doing this is by following a ranking system for your priorities and comparing your rankings. For example, you may prioritize improvement in efficiencies before cost cutting, while they may put costing first on their list. Businesses that want to find a compromise are good negotiating parties; those who do not want to compromise any of their priorities may be screwing you over.

Rush Negotiations

As a general rule, you should never accept rush negotiations because more often than not, you’ll get the bad end of the deal. However, you wll encounter negotiators who will use his tactic to get the deal cuts that they want and the terms that benefit only their organization.

There are two ways of going about this: you can say no to the rush terms and walk away, picking up negotiations no later than 30 days or when they call, whichever comes first; or you can make a counteroffer. Now I have to warn you, as a general rule if you make the first offer, you hold the negotiating power. In some cases, such as this one, you could regain control by giving them an offer they are not expecting where you present a win-win situation.

It’s All About Reading People

What do all the instances I’ve mentioned above have in common? All of them involve reading people. If you think a deal is too good to be true, or is too rushed, or that there’s more to the terms than meets the eye, then these are probably true, and your deal may be worth a closer look.

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