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Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels

. . . use tricks like these-so read on, and players won't pull a fast one on you.

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This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Negotiation may be a game, but it's a serious one. And although we hope all our opponents will play fair, we know some will hit us below the belt. Here are a few classic ruses every negotiator will have to guard against:

Good cop, bad cop: The scenario goes something like this: During an interrogation, the grizzled bad cop brutalizes the suspect, so the suspect clams up. Exit the bad cop. Enter the mild-mannered good cop, who offers the suspect a smoke. "That bad cop is one tough cookie," says the good cop. The suspect starts to relax-is the good cop on his side? Then the good cop throws out some bait: "Maybe I can get him to go a little easy on you." The suspect loosens up and starts to sing.

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