There is more than one type of narcissistic personality.
Understanding which type you are involved with can greatly help how you are able to work with them.
One type is the Vulnerable Narcissist.
A Vulnerable Narcissistic person has a egotistical outer shell, but beneath is a more insecure person than you would expect.
As humans we have a lot of defense mechanisms we cultivate in order to protect our vulnerability.
Vulnerable Narcissists tend to take this to an extreme.
Insecurity is handled by the vulnerable narcissist by creating an exterior facade that emulates characteristics of power and control.
The tricky part is in determining if the person is vulnerable under that hard exterior sheath, or if they actually are internally a mirror reflection of the outside.
The answer is usually reviled in how they respond to attempts to connect with them via the use of empathy as a discovery tool.
For example: if a person has indicated it is “my way or the highway”- not seemingly concerned with you or your client…test them.
Call their bluff or force them to show their real cards.
Make them admit they do not care.
With a narcissist you must never assume!
With anyone you shouldn’t assume, but making assumptions when a narcissist is involved…
Things could get ugly.
Narcissists want you to assume so they can continue their plot.
Assertiveness throws them off!
A Vulnerable Narcissist will back off before you force them to show their cards because deep down they are holding a pair of 2’s and talking as if they have 4 aces.
Deep down they care.
This will change the dynamic to more in your favor.
Acknowledge that you see the situation as one sided and encourage the narcissist to consider the point of view of your client.
If they do not listen and steam roll over your point it is likely you have a Villain Narcissist on your hands.
I call the second type a Villain not because they are necessarily evil.
They just have other villain like characteristics and comparing them to villains makes them easier to understand.
A villain doesn’t actually think they are a villain (not always anyway).
That is what makes them so hard to reason with using empathy.
A villain truly believes they are doing what is correct.
So convicted by their goals that they do not consider any other opinion as important.
So for you the hero, conveying fairness and the virtues of a win-win situation will fall on the deaf ears of a Villain Narcissist.
And you can’t use how wonderful they think they are to your advantage either.
Attempting to compliment them into liking you just will not work.
The Villain Narcissist likes THEMSELVES.
Do not take it personal, it is just a fact->you are not them so you can’t be as likable in their view.
Compliments will only further their already high opinion of themselves.
These are not fun people to deal with in general.
Doubly un-fun to negotiate with.
True as this may be…
You will be more successful if you become good at dealing with this type of person.
You are in sales…
And they love sales.
Plan of action for dealing with Villain Narcissists:
You know the saying: “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”?
The Villain Narcissist loves that expression.
I like it too, but only to motivate- not to scare people.
The Villain Narcissist likes that saying and a plethora of other antagonistic/testing verbiage because they lack the ability to actually problem solve.
Problems scare them, so they avoid them with intimidation.
They use intimidation because they also do not like to lose.
They want more than anything to get what they want quickly by taking control quickly.
Their best chance of winning is to make a situation appear non- negotiable.
And get you to agree and give up.
They are not good negotiators because it requires them to speak to your points!
They have a hard time speaking to your points because they do not listen well.
They do not listen well because if it is you talking then it is not about them.
And we wouldn’t be calling them a Narcissistic personality type if they were not only about themselves.
These personality types are good at first impression power setting and saying “no” loudly and clearly.
They do not like multiple choices.
But what they like even less is not getting their way.
So your job is to make them deny themselves of what they want or back down and work with you.
That is their tactic for doing business… So to work with them it needs to be yours.
Do not ask a Villain Narcissist “what do you want to do”.
If you are at the following point in transaction empathy has not worked.
The Villain Narcissist (buyers agent) and their client are strong arming you or they will walk (they say).
If you agree to their demands your client(Seller) will not get a fair deal.
You know this.
You also know you can sell your clients home for a more reasonable offer.
You have no idea what this buyer’s agent verbally has said to his/her clients.
Your clients do not want to kill this deal but it is in their best interest if the agent and their buyers will not consider your counter.
Verbiage for you the agent:
“Here is where my client and myself stand.”
– quick note- do not separate yourself from your client. If you do the VN will try and split you from your client further by attacking where your client stands. If you speak as if you and your client are one it demonstrates strength and agreement by the “team” that this situation has been discussed and settled on your end.
Back to verbiage: “here is where my clients and I stand… We have indicated prior to right now that this is where we stand. You and your clients disregarded our counter. As a result, here is what is going to happen. You agree to convey our points in the counter clearly to them and give them a true opportunity to consider. Also, this message has been sent to you and your clients by my clients via an email, fax and voicemail so as to ensure all parties have the same information as well as my clients personal sentiments wishing your buyers well should we now terminate our contract. We do not want there to be any room for miscommunication on our end. We WANT to work with your clients. Should your clients wish to continue negotiations, excellent. Should they not, we will have the contract terminated immediately so you can begin searching for another home for them should they chose to have you do that.”
If a deal has gone this direction, your options have already become unfavorable. But if you do not get this firm with an agent who is strong arming you there will never be a favorable outcome. This gives you the opportunity for your clients to sell at better terms or none at all. If you go along with the one sided ultimatums of an agent who is not meeting you halfway the result would be bad deal or no deal. At least with this you have the potential for a good deal or no deal.