Bartering is a tactic, not negotiating.
Never venture into the jungle without something of value, like your guide or your mother-in-law, to barter with if you encounter a prowling, indigenous tribe of headhunters.
To barter is to effect trade by the exchange of commodities. Bartering is an important part of negotiations. The non-monetary commodities of the transaction are often more important than the actual monetary settlement.
While bartering is seemingly commodity driven, effective negotiators and mediators know to look for ways to leverage the human psyche to create commodities of intangible value in the form of apologies, respectful recognition, and pain infliction within the bartering framework. The more skilled the negotiator or mediator the more complex the physic negotiating arena can become.
As an example, often corporate negotiators approach landlords seeking contracts or leases bartering solely with their primary commodity, money. They know how much they can afford to pay for a given location and seek to pay a little less than that amount. It is fairly easy math, easy to explain to the home office, and easy to discuss with a landlord. It may not, however, be the best approach. They are apt to forget the value to the landlord represented by the security of their company's financial ability to service the lease or how much value their use may add to the center as a whole. More experienced negotiators would approach the same landlord on behalf of the same company with a quiver full of commodities with which to barter. These commodities could include the quality of the proposed use, the prospect of multiple transactions with the landlord, the ability to move swiftly through the permitting and construction process, a strong national advertising campaign that will make the shopping center more known within the trade area, the potential of increasing the rent value of the adjacent spaces, the strength of the tenant to potential lenders, and so on. This extraordinary-value oriented approach serves to inform the landlord about potential benefits above and beyond rent with this tenant. If any of those arguments are meaningful to the landlord, the tenant should be able to offer less rent than another tenant.
Unless the negotiating arena is expanded, the primary focus will remain on the base commodity. Without other incentives, there will be little reason for the party with the most power or strength to compromise. This tactic of adding commodities of value to the negotiation applies to almost every possible human interaction.
Understanding the full range of your available assets is a critical part of the strategic planning of a negotiation. In many cases, something that seems of little value to you may be perceived as very valuable to the other person. You need to uncover what is of value to the other person to be able to properly leverage its full value. You need to understand the needs and wants of the other party as well as your own goals and objectives.
No one said this was an easy process. It requires time, patience, interviewing skills and research. Then you might be ready to sit at the table. Once seated at the negotiation table, do not become so intent on winning that you offer more than you can afford to pay.
The objective is NOT to win the negotiation, but to achieve your goal; a cost effective resolution.