Main Content

The Good Cop/Bad Cop Negotiation Tactic – Part 1

We have all seen the iconic good cop/bad cop approach acted out in hundreds of movies and television programs. Sometimes it is done smoothly and sometimes comically, but always the goal is to have the opposing party become so emotionally overwrought with the bad cop, that the good cop can step in, win their allegiance, and negotiate a better conclusion because he is, “on their side.”

This negotiation tactic is most often encountered in the car sales industry when the salesman is negotiating “for you,” but he cannot persuade the sales manager to budge any further on the price.

This negotiation tactic can work in a real estate negotiation in a number of different ways. Using your clients, for example, as a good cop/bad cop to the opposing agent: “Well, the wife likes the house, but the husband has several concerns.”

As a real estate professional, you might employ this negotiation tactic on your own behalf by saying something similar to, “I would lower my commission, but the broker will not let me.”

Sometimes a real estate agent can be the bad cop for his own clients: “I think they have offered way too much on this. I tried to get them to offer less.” Used in this way you could create a sense of urgency to jump at the offer.

In Part 2 of the good cop/bad cop negotiation tactic, we will explore the most common application of this tactic as well as effective countermeasures when this tactic is used against you.