If your side consists of more than one person, department, or internal stakeholder, sometimes it can help to play one off against the other. You can indicate that some of the tough stances you’re taking derive from parties, circumstances, or policies that are outside of your control. This may indeed be the case, if there are certain aspects of a service or product you’re providing that cannot be customized, at least not under your business plan. The friend-and-foe tactic is as old as the phrases “good cop/bad cop” and “Mutt and Jeff”, however. If your counter-party is astute, they may quickly figure out what you’re up to and give back the same in return. So, unless you can’t think of another way to get around a particularly contentious point, it’s generally best to take the opposite approach, which is next up on the continuing topic of parties to a deal.