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Secrets of Power Negotiating for Salespeople by Roger Dawson

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Chapter 17Good Guy/Bad Guy

Good Guy/Bad Guy is one of the best known negotiating gambits. Charles Dickens first wrote about it in his book Great Expectations. In the opening scene of the story, the young hero Pip is in the graveyard when out of the sinister mist came a large, very frightened man. He is a convict, and he has chains around his legs. He asks Pip to go into the village and bring back food and a file, so he can remove the chains. The convict has a dilemma, however. He wants to scare the child into doing as he’s asked, yet he mustn’t put so much pressure on Pip that he’ll freeze with fear or bolt into town to tell the police.

The solution to the convict’s problem is to use the Good Guy/Bad Guy Gambit. I’m taking some liberty with the ...

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