Successful negotiating requires that you have a strategy. The clearer your strategy before negotiating, the more successful you will be. At the core of the strategy is what sales coach Mark Hunter refers to as the “3 Ts” of negotiating: Trust, Time, and Tactics.

‘T’ Number One: Trust. The more trust you and the other party have in each other, the less need there will be to negotiate. The underlying risk, however, is in knowing whether the trust is real or just perceived:

  • Real trust comes about only through time and the quality of interactions you have had with the customer. To gauge the level of trust you have established, consider what the other person has told you about their company and their personal situation. The more they are willing to tell you what is not readily known by others, the more trust they have in you.
  • Perceived trust is blind and will get you in trouble rapidly. It often comes when the other party is a good communicator and easy to get along with. This in itself may be a negotiating posture; the “good ol’ boy” is a classic example.

‘T’ Number Two: Time. The more time you have before it’s necessary to finalize the deal, the greater your leverage. If time is of the essence to you, do not allow the other party to know what your timeframe is. Good negotiators will use time to their advantage by knowing timelines the other party is dealing with – without revealing anything other than what is necessary to help close the negotiation.

‘T’ Number Three: Tactics. People use tactics to negotiate when they do not have an established level of trust with the other person or they don’t have time working in their favor.
Negotiators choose their tactics – how many, what type – in relation to the lack of trust they place in others.

Three pieces of pie
One way of looking at the role these Three Ts play in negotiating is to think of a three-piece pie chart.

If you have a high degree of trust in the other person and they have trust in you, then there is no need to use tactics or time. In such a case, trust might be 100% of the pie. On the other hand, if you have little trust in the other party, you need to rely to a much greater degree on tactics and time to complete the negotiation. You might have a pie where, say, trust is 20%, time 30% and tactics 50%. The worst case would be one where you have zero time to negotiate and there is no trust between the two parties. In this case, the only “T” you have is tactics.

Trust, of course, is the most desirable of the three elements.

Start today paying close attention to the level of trust that exists between you and each of your customers. Really think about this, even if you are not in a negotiation situation right now.
Wise salespeople know how to assess each “T” with each customer. The more adept you become at this, the better you will be as a negotiator.

Source: To learn more from Mark Hunter, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Rapid Learning Institute 1510 Chester Pike, Suite 310 Eddystone, PA 19022

  • Toll Free: (877) 792-2172
  • Contact Us

About RLI

RLI is 100% CAN-SPAM compliant. We're dedicated to protecting your privacy. We will NEVER sell or share your email address and will promptly honor all unsubscribe requests.

Learn More

Connect With Us

Signup to Receive Industry-Leading Tips and News from our Experts