Fear, Uncertainty and Doubtposted by Anna Mar, January 31, 2013
Fear makes people do dumb things and make bad decisions.
It's possible (but unethical) to use fear to influence or to achieve negotiation results. A common negotiation tactic known as Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt (FUD) does exactly that.
It's important to recognize FUD tactics. If others can manipulate your fears you'll risk bad decisions and negotiation failures.
The Only Thing To Fear is Fear Itself
The only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.When Franklin D. Roosevelt warned of the dangers of fear, he knew what he was talking about.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inauguration Speech
He took office in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. The World was gripped in financial panic. Unemployment in the U.S. was 25%. International trade had dropped by more than 50%.
The Great Depression started on October 29, 1929 with a dramatic market drop known as Black Tuesday. The fear generated by this event is largely attributed with triggering the Great Depression.
Capital markets froze up because banks were scared to lend to each other. Businesses laid off employees in a panic. Fearful consumers stopped spending. Politicians blamed international trade for their problems and threw up trade barriers. Economic activity on every front ground to a halt.
That's how powerful fear can be.
Uncertainty and DoubtEven a faint scent of fear is enough to dramatically influence negotiations and decision making.
Uncertainty and doubt is fairly easy to generate. A negotiator only needs to imply that something bad might happen to trigger it.
For example, a salesperson can suggest that a competitor might go bankrupt. The salesperson doesn't need any evidence. It doesn't need to be true. The fact that the statement sows doubt in the mind of the customer is often enough to influence that customer's decisions.
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