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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

8 Popular Lies People Use In Their Negotiations

Key take-aways

  • Lying in negotiations is strongly discouraged because it damages trust and reputation, making future negotiations challenging.
  • Common lies in negotiations include time-prolonging excuses, exaggerated claims about alternatives, and too-good-to-be-true offers.
  • Negotiators should be vigilant, call out lies, and conduct thorough research to ensure fair and successful negotiations.

Negotiation lying is a bad thing. No matter what your excuse is, it is never a good idea to lie during negotiations. Not only are you going to fail the negotiations, no one would ever want to negotiate with you again because you could be seen as dishonest and unreliable.

For this article, let’s take a look at some of the most popular lies people used in negotiations. We are also going to discuss why some negotiators often resort to lying during the making of deals.

Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll most likely be a pro at catching liars at the negotiating table!

Is Negotiation LyingCommon?

For negotiators, the ability to tell and discern the truth is just one of the many skills developed and honed through years and years of watching and dealing with negotiations. So one might think that for a negotiator, honesty is a very big factor during these discussions. It actually is.

In fact, the ability to call out these lies is featured in one of our courses in the Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals. Enroll now and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime course.

The best negotiators are also among the most tricked, but honest people. That’s why when someone is caught lying during the negotiation table, that particular negotiator is treated with contempt at once. And yet, stories of negotiation lying are also too common out there.

So why do some people lie during negotiations? Well, the reason could be a lot of things and most of the time, there really is no concrete explanation. Some lie to take advantage of the other party or because they are under pressure. Others lie to hide certain details of the negotiations that could impede their chances of winning the negotiations. In short, different lies come with different objectives.

Of course, whatever lies they come up with and whatever the results are, one thing is sure; no one is going to trust people who lie again.

The 8 Popular Lies People Usein their Negotiations

So we’ve come to the part where we talk about the 8 popular lies used by people during negotiations. While these lies are often not used most of the time, they are popular because it is often difficult to discern whether the information or excuse given by the party is a lie or not.

Oftentimes, only a professional negotiator can come up with the best conclusions through the use of experience and face negotiation techniques. 

In any case, here are some of the popular lies often used or heard during negotiations:

1. Time Prolonging Lies

These are the lies you often hear even before the start of the negotiations. Statements such as “I am going to be late because” and “I am almost near the building” type of lies are often used to get people to prolong the time duration needed before the negotiations can start, prepare better. People say that they are late for a meeting, but actually, they started to prepare too late.   

While it doesn’t hurt the reputation of the negotiator too much, it will count that particular negotiator as annoying or someone who isn’t able to keep up with schedules.

2. Lies about bottom lines and alternatives

When a negotiating party starts throwing counter-offers that seem too high or too low for the offer itself, it is often good advice to take it with a grain of salt. If suppliers keep pushing the argument that they could get a better deal somewhere else, why are they still at your negotiation table? Because they do not have a better alternative.

Remember, any statement that requires deliberation is stated too quickly, there is always a chance that it’s a lie. Researching the other side’s claim is very important to uncover the truth!

3.Impact of raw material price development

In order to start the negotiation for a new contract, many suppliers ask for higher price increases than needed. Yes, negotiation lying to gain an advantage over raw material price is possible during negotiations.

In many cases, the facts are to the advantage of procurement managers: make sure you have as much information as possible about the development of all raw materials prepared and ask the supplier to provide you all the details needed if you have any doubt.

4. A deal with a competitor is way better

We all know this supplier that is constantly stating that his deals with your competitors are better. For example, many suppliers say that they are offering a 20% better deal than he actually is at competitors.  It’s a shame we as procurement managers can’t really find out if this is an actual lie or not, but if a supplier is constantly bringing this variable to the table, ask them why they are still negotiating with you if they can get such a good deal somewhere else and tell them – if they stay off course – afterward to focus on the deal they are closing with your instead of wasting time talking about competitors. 

5. Ignoring Reciprocity

During negotiations, a concession should always be matched with a certain degree of reciprocity. If one party has offered a concession, the other party must match it with the right amount or degree of concession as well. When there is none given or the other party just gives lip service to the concession, then it’s high time to start packing because the other party could be lying, or frustrating the process at least. A good tactic for this would be to threaten to leave if no concession is given. If the other party remains the same, then there’s no point in negotiating.

6. Escalation of Commitment

There might be times where the other party has already invested a certain amount of money or investment already before agreeing on a deal. If this is the case and the other party has knowledge of this, then there is no shame in walking away. It’s because the other party will surely take advantage of this fact because they know the investment will keep the other side in place for further negotiations all because they are afraid to walk away after investing resources.

7. Too-good-to-be-true

When a super deal is offered and it’s really too good to be true, then you know you have to be on your guard. This could be a final tactic by the other party as a means of tricking you into accepting a deal that might have some unseen variables in it. If you’ve done your research and you know that the offer is too good to be true, you can immediately turn it down or just simply walk away!

8. Last Minute Nibbling

Last-minute nibbling refers to that one particular negotiator who is fond of making small requests before the deal is done. This particular lie can be effective, especially if the other party is really intent on just getting the deal done and getting out of there. They don’t realize that they’ve already lost a good chunk of profit because they haven’t thought much about what the last-minute nibbler got!


In summary, the practice of lying during negotiations is unequivocally detrimental, tarnishing the negotiator’s reputation and undermining trust. This article delves into the prevalence of negotiation lies, exploring eight popular falsehoods encountered during the negotiating process.

From time-prolonging lies to exaggerated claims about deals with competitors, each deceitful tactic carries consequences for the negotiation dynamics.

Honesty remains a cornerstone in successful negotiations, and detecting these lies is a crucial skill emphasized in professional negotiation courses.

By unveiling common deceptive strategies, this article equips readers to navigate negotiations with heightened awareness and discernment, fostering a more trustworthy and effective negotiation environment.

Frequentlyasked questions

What are negotiation lies?

Negotiation lies are lies often used during negotiations in order to get a better deal.

Why do people use negotiation lies?

Sometimes, people use negotiation lies because they want to gain an advantage over the other negotiation party.

How can you avoid negotiation lies?

You can avoid negotiation lies by calling out the other party or by threatening to walk away from the negotiations.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics