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  • Jharna Jagtiani

Overcoming Resistance in Negotiation: Strategies for Success

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Conquering resistance in negotiations.

Negotiation is an art of persuasion, but it's not always smooth sailing. Resistance from the other party is a common hurdle in the negotiation process. How you handle this resistance can make or break the deal.

In this article, we will delve into strategies for overcoming resistance in negotiation, with real-world case studies to illustrate their effectiveness.

Understanding Resistance:

Before diving into strategies, it's crucial to understand why resistance occurs in negotiations:

  1. Protecting Interests: Resistance often stems from a desire to protect one's interests. The other party may fear that conceding too much will result in an unfavorable outcome.

  2. Emotional Attachments: Personal or emotional attachments to certain terms or conditions can lead to resistance. People might dig in their heels because they perceive these elements as non-negotiable.

  3. External Pressures: Sometimes, resistance is not driven by personal preferences but by external pressures, such as corporate policies or market conditions.

Strategies to Overcome Resistance:

  1. Case Study - Automotive Alliance: During negotiations with a parts supplier, Automotive Alliance's team noticed resistance when discussing price increases. They used active listening to understand the supplier's cost challenges and empathized with their situation. This led to a compromise where the supplier agreed to price adjustments over time.

  2. Case Study - TechWare Inc.: When negotiating a software licensing deal, TechWare Inc. faced resistance due to concerns about costs. They explained in detail how the software would increase the client's operational efficiency, ultimately saving them money. The client saw the long-term benefits and became more amenable to the deal.

  3. Case Study - PharmaCure Ltd.: PharmaCure Ltd. was in negotiations with a potential partner for a drug development project. The partner resisted due to concerns about resource allocation. PharmaCure offered alternative project structures that reduced resource commitments while still achieving their mutual goals.

  4. Case Study - GreenSolutions: In negotiations with a skeptical client, GreenSolutions invited the client to visit their manufacturing facilities and meet their team. This transparency built trust and alleviated concerns about product quality, leading to a successful partnership.

  5. Case Study - AeroTech Industries: AeroTech Industries was negotiating a large contract with a risk-averse client. They broke the deal into smaller, manageable phases. Each successful phase built trust and reduced resistance, ultimately leading to the complete contract.


Resistance is a natural part of the negotiation process. However, it should not be viewed as an insurmountable obstacle. Instead, it's an opportunity to strengthen the negotiation and build a more robust partnership. Employing strategies like active listening, empathy, explaining benefits, offering alternatives, and building trust can help overcome resistance and pave the way for successful negotiations. Remember, the key is not just to win the deal but to create a mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationship.


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