Negotiation Tactics with Brooklyn Nine-Nine Characters | by Beth Seager | The Innovation | Aug, 2020

Christel Deskins

Negotiation Tactics I’ll get your perp to talk. I can be very persuasive. I just negotiated my baby girls down from a pony to a hamster. Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash Negotiations are between people. The personalities, fears and motivations of who you’re negotiating with will determine the outcome […]

Negotiation Tactics

I’ll get your perp to talk. I can be very persuasive. I just negotiated my baby girls down from a pony to a hamster.

Beth Seager
Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash

Negotiations are between people.

The personalities, fears and motivations of who you’re negotiating with will determine the outcome of the negotiation.

If you’re successful, all your issues will be resolved and your relationships are intact or enhanced. If you get it wrong, you risk taking a backward step and losing the relationship.

There are three factors in a negotiation: time, the situation and the negotiators.

I’m assuming that time is on our side and we aren’t under pressure to come to a negotiated agreement that isn’t a good outcome for us. The situation includes our knowledge of the supply market, our access to technical data and our intelligence of the supplier’s position.

But the best bit of a negotiation is the other negotiator.

What do you want to achieve?

One of the key preparations for a negotiation is to determine exactly what you want to achieve. These can be broken down into substance goals and #relationshipgoals.

Substance goals are all about price, the contractual terms and service levels.

Relationship goals are less about kissing in infinity pools on Instagram and more about partnering, giving a preferred supplier status, Early Supplier Involvement and sharing technology.

I feel like Amy and Holt are the two characters that show real potential for having a closer buyer/supplier relationship. They’re more future-oriented the other characters and they see the bigger picture.

Collaborative vs Adversarial Negotiations

I’m a collaborative person and I have to try quite hard to be adversarial (unless I’m in a bad mood).

If you see the other negotiator as an adversary, you’re always fighting for the largest slice of the pie.

In a negotiation, collaboration means achieving a win-win outcome, or ‘expanding the pie,’ so that both parties work together to make a bigger pie, and therefore both end up with larger slices.


Negotiations are won by preparation. Define your negotiation limits: the best outcome and best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) or walkaway point.

This helps create the Zone of Possible Agreement between the range of your options and the range of the other negotiator’s options. It’s the area where agreement can be found. It’s useful to consider where you think the other party’s zone will begin and end.

You can also prepare the timings, venue and room layout.

I generally let the supplier sit first and then sit so I’m not directly opposite, which instantly opens up the feeling to be more collaborative rather than opponents across a table.

Gathering intelligence is vital, which includes spend data and market analytics. Most importantly, I’ve watched 6 seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine to prepare me for my negotiating partner!

Amy Santiago

Amy would arrive with her pre-negotiation packaged up in a binder and all her supporting evidence in easy access. With clearly labelled and colour coded dividers, of course.

“I took a course on conflict resolution and I have been waiting weeks to bust this bad boy out! Mmm, new binder smell.”

I think Amy would be the most fun to negotiate with. She would have researched negotiation already and she’d want to achieve the best possible win-win outcome.

Amy wouldn’t fall for any data overloading ploys or be afraid to ask for clarification over anything.

In my own pre-negotiation, I’d try and predict any of Amy’s objections and already have logical responses to them.

You can’t fight logic with emotion, but I’d try and get her on board by citing some of her heroes or demonstrating how people or organisations she admires have already adopted whatever it is I want.

Her motivation is to impress Holt, so I’d focus my argument around what he would be impressed by.

Jake Peralta

I know I said Amy would be my favourite character to negotiate with, but Jake would be fun. He’d also come up with creative solutions for problems. And he’s definitely a win-win guy!

With Jake I’d focus on substance goals because his only long term commitment is to Amy, there’s no way I’m furthering any relationship goals (furthering relationship goals: title of your sex tape).

I’d take almost the complete opposite approach to a negotiation with Jake as I would Amy. If I turned up to a meeting with Jake with a binder, agenda and obvious negotiation plan I think he’d instantly switch off.

I’d take a much more emotional approach. Building a rapport is important in any negotiation and I generally try and get to know any business associate. I love travelling, so I try and find some common ground there. With Jake, I’d probably go straight in with Die Hard.

I’d try and get him super excited about what we were trying to achieve, because he’s a jump in headfirst guy.

Jake’s a team player, so I’d convince him of how coming round to my position would benefit his team.

I’d be quite open about what I was trying to achieve because he’s an intelligent person who wants to help others. He’d be a real help coming up with solutions and finding a way to work together.

And if he comes up with the solution, he gets to call himself the Best Detective & Genius! Best motivation ever.

Raymond Holt

What does Captain Raymond Holt want? To become Police Commissioner and to protect his precinct. And maybe to take down Wuntch.

“Captain Wuntch. Good to see you. But if you’re here, who’s guarding Hades?”

All arguments would need to be logical. I think he’d want the other party to be prepared, but I don’t think he’d appreciate someone turning up with reams of paper or a long PowerPoint presentation.

I’d make sure I had all the facts I needed and that I was as much of an expert as I could be. I’d probably bring an internal colleague for more technical expertise.

With Holt I’d approach it using a process of trading mutually advantageous concessions. He sees everything as a game of chess and would definitely be playing a few moves ahead of me.

I’m not sure ploys would really work with Holt. I’d just put my goal right on the table and make the first proposal. If he doesn’t want to come around, I’d use logical persuasion to try and convince him.

One thing I wouldn’t try would be using silence! I couldn’t out-silence him. I’d cave before his stern gaze.

Hitchcock & Scully

I think Hitchcock & Scully offer the most opportunity for an adversarial approach. But I only say this because I don’t think they wield much power within Brooklyn Nine-Nine. An assertive approach with these two would be passed upwards to whoever has the real authority to negotiate. This would set me in good stead to not be seen as a pushover and encourage their team to send someone with more authority.

Negotiating authority is important to establish in the early stages of a negotiation. Can the other party genuinely make concessions? Or do you need to speak to someone more senior?

“Hello unsolved case. Do you bring me joy? No, because you’re boring and you’re too hard. See ya.”

Similarly, I’m not sure how keen I would be to develop my relationship with the pair. Most suppliers don’t offer anything completely unique and if they were my Account Managers I think I’d go to a competitor until they retired.

My main ploy would be to play with the timescales and make it before lunch. They’d definitely feel under pressure to cave so they could go and eat! I’d consider changing the venue to somewhere near food so the smell would mess with their minds.

Negotiation Tactics Conclusion

Negotiations need to be tailored to each negotiation. Consider your opposite negotiator as a team member and you’ll start thinking differently about how to achieve your goals.

Finding what really motivates them and their organisation and building a rapport make a huge difference to your negotiated outcomes.

Would you do anything differently with the Brooklyn Nine-Nine team?

How would you approach a negotiation with Gina, Rosa or Charles?

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