26. What is the good guy – bad guy strategy?

Good guy/bad guy is taking the higher authority strategy to the next level.  The good guy/bad guy can be obvious or it can be quite subtle.  It can be carefully planned in advance, or people can fall into the roles naturally.

When this buying strategy is used, you might not even notice until you have become the victim.  The real estate agent and client often use this method.   For example, the home seller might play the bad guy, holding out for top dollar.  But the seller's agent plays the good guy by showing the bad guy why the price is above market value.

Husband and wife teams often use this method too.  The husband is usually the bad guy while the wife is more reasonable and sympathetic to the other side's viewpoint.

Good guy/bad guy occurs when there are two or more buyers and one is easier to get along with, provides more information, or seems more anxious to make a deal, while the other is more difficult.

I recently sold a travel trailer and was amazed at how most husbands and wives fall into these roles.  The wife would make the initial call and get all the information before handing the phone over to the husband, the bad guy, to talk about the price.

We have all seen the good guy/bad guy tactics on television.  A suspect is caught and interrogated.  The first detective puts him under a glaring light, hits him with hard questions and roughs him up.

The tough guy leaves.  In comes the nice guy who gives the suspect a cigarette and lets him relax.  Soon the suspect spills all he knows.

Car dealerships are known for this.   When the sales person says “I will take this to the sales manager and see if I can get this price for you”, they actually make us believe they are on our side!

Here is how it works in a car dealership.  Let us assume you and the salesperson have reached a price agreement.  The salesperson has to get "approval" from the manager "Bad Guy" to honor his/her agreement with you.  However, only the sales manager can accept an offer.  The salesperson is a messenger between you and the sales manager.

The next time this is strategy is used on you - try this:  tell the sales person that you want to go into the sales managers office together - you want to see how the sales person is going to work for you to get the price you want. They will tell you that is not possible - insist on it.

You can do the same thing when a buyer insists on a lower price.  You can call your manager (the bad guy) and report back that the manager was really tough on you, "However, I was able to get the price down a small amount.  Not quite what you want, but pretty close."  This makes the customer believe you are on their side.

When faced with the "good guy/bad guy" routine do not fall for it!  The buyers both have the same goal - to get you to give everything you have.

Another heavy-handed but effective tactic of intimidation is to out-number the other party.  You show up alone; the buyer brings in the lawyer, the accountant, the executive vice-president, and so on.

If you think your opponent is using Good Guy/Bad Guy, do one of two things. Let the other side know you have recognized the tactic, or bring in a Bad Guy of your own.

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