When SHOULDN’T You Use Trump’s Negotiating Strategy?

An earlier blog answered the opposite question: “When should you use Trump’s negotiating strategy?”

It began, “Some people would answer, “Always! He’s gotten some great deals.”

Other people would insist, “Never! He’s made so many enemies that he should be impeached!”

Both answers are based on emotions, and anyone who says them is ignoring facts that conflict with their emotional reactions.

He has unquestionably:

  • Gotten many great deals
  • Created many enemies

I recently published an online course at Udemy titled: “Is Trump’s Negotiating Strategy Right For YOU?”

It provides the only rational answer to that question: You should use Trump’s strategy ONLY in certain situations.

If you always use his strategy, you will:

  • Create lots of enemies
  • Miss many good deals.

If you never use his strategy, you will:

  • Leave lots of money on the table
  • Get some terrible deals, especially when you negotiate with someone like Trump.

In other words, you should adjust your strategy to fit the situation. This blog will tell you when you shouldn’t use his strategy.


Trump makes a common mistake: He does what makes him comfortable, even when it’s exactly the wrong strategy. Don’t make his mistake. Carefully analyze the situation before you choose your strategy. Don’t bargain hard when …

You Have Important Common Interests.

The more important your common interests are, the more you should cooperate. Countless deals have been lost because one or both parties were so intent on winning that they ignored the fact that their common interests were much more important than their conflicts.

You Want a Harmonious Relationship.

The more important the relationship is, and the more you want to preserve it, the more cooperative you should be.

Trump is an excellent example. His extreme aggression has ruined important relationships with Congress and many foreign leaders. Under our system of government, the president and the congress can’t do their jobs without cooperating. He makes some people so irrationally angry that they ignore the consequences and just fight him.

You Are Weaker Or Power Is Approximately Equal


The weaker you are, the more you should cooperate. Since you don’t have the power, don’t play a power-based game.


Because you will lose.

Bargaining hard from a weak position would be similar to small kid’s challenging the schoolyard bully. He’ll get his ass kicked.

You Trust Them

The more you trust people, the more trustworthy you should be. Trust is extremely fragile. If you copy Trump and lie, bluff, change positions, and use other power-oriented tactics, you will often destroy that trust. Once trust is lost, it’s difficult or impossible to get it back.

It’s Hard To Evaluate Implementation.

The harder it is to know how well it’s been implemented, the more cooperative you should be. For example, if you bargain aggressively and an auto mechanic agrees to fix your car for a very low price, he may install used parts or just do inferior work. Your car may run well at first, but quickly break down.

They Are Cooperating

If they are cooperating, it usually pays to do the same. You’ll probably reach a deal that satisfies both parties and builds your relationship.

You may be tempted to bargain hard to exploit their openness and cooperation. If you bargain hard, you’ll probably get a very good deal, but you may damage or completely destroy the relationship. Many people – especially competitive ones – can’t resist the opportunity to exploit anyone who is too open and cooperative. They often regret it. They win the battle, but lose the war.

So what should you do?


Oversimplification is an extremely common mistake. Hardly anyone wants to analyze all these issues. They’d rather just, “go with their gut.” They may claim that they trust their gut, but they are really just doing what makes them comfortable, not what the situation demands.

It’s not easy to consider all of them, but the more issues you consider, and the more thoroughly you analyze them, the better decisions you will make.

Sometimes, you should ignore relationship issues and bargain hard to get the best deal. Sometimes, you shouldn’t care about this deal and do whatever will improve or preserve your relationship. Generally, you should BALANCE your desires for a good deal and a good relationship.


Don’t trust your gut.

Ignore your own comfort.

Thoroughly analyze all the issues.

Select a strategy that correctly balances competition and cooperation.

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