Whatever you do in life, must develop your negotiating skills.
I spent a lot of my time on airplanes during my career and when I used to travel regularly to the US, I would always come across this guy, Dr. Chester Karras.
On every US flight, I would read an advertisement about attending his seminars around the phrase, “how to negotiate.”
Although I never did attend a seminar, I do recall reading a phrase that I think turned into a book that basically said in business, as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!
It’s a strong message and one that resonated with me ever since.
I don’t know much more about Karras, but that sentence got me thinking about not only the negotiation process in my business but how being able to negotiate effectively, comes into many other aspects of life.
Although I’ve run many companies over the years, I would best describe myself as a salesperson, after falling into the more generic category of an entrepreneur.
And, of course, being a good salesperson, I have learned a great deal about the subject of negotiation and in this article, I will describe how to set the scene for the negotiation process.
We Are Born With The Ability To Negotiate
This is, of course, my opinion and I will stick to it!
When we were children, life was simple — the only routine was to wake up, eat, play, eat, sleep, and repeat…in the simplest of terms,
But around our innate ability to negotiate, we had the qualities of creativity, imagination, desire, instinct, and a total lack of fear.
It’s this fearlessness, boldness…call it what you want, that allowed us to simply ask for what we want and without any sense of concern, embarrassment, and the other emotions that surround the event and patiently wait for a response.
And when that response is not to our liking, we employ another innate quality to make sure we get it — persistence!
So why, as businessmen, entrepreneurs, and simply adults, do we struggle to do the same when we need to in life?
I’m still active in the business world today and I spend my time working in a real estate startup in Dallas, Texas, where I am responsible for the training and development of our sales staff, as well as mentoring the CEO.
We train daily and I spend most of my time trying to re-create those childhood memories that we cherished, where we regularly used our innate qualities — then I apply that feeling to the modern-day commercial world, in terms of sales situations, in which negotiation plays a major part.
For more information about my sales training and more importantly, my sales philosophy, take a look at this article.
Simple Negotiating Principles
You have to be very clear when it comes down to what you want.
Next, you have to “jump into the shoes” of the other party and think about what they want.
Then you bring those two thoughts together to create a win for both.
That’s the long and short of it and I’m sure I could add so much more to pad out this article, but I’m not going to because you have to do the rest of the work!
As a child, can you think of those times when you really wanted something and you asked mom, then you went to dad after she said “no.”
And then he said the same?
Of course, you can and, you can remember how although you felt dejected, it didn’t stop you from going straight back to the two of them to continue and use every tactic in the book to get the deal.
It’s exactly the same in the commercial world, only you have to refine the technique a little!
Here are the main areas to think about when it comes down to getting the best deal:
- Do your homework — you have to know what the other party is thinking…the pressures they are facing and the other options they may have.
- Aim high…and make sure that your “high point” is realistic — there is no sense in simply aiming for the stars and landing on the moon if the stars are unrealistic. Make sure you have researched the high and low points of the deal and that is where the previous point of “homework” comes into play.
- Don’t give anything without receiving something — it’s about balancing out the deal and remember you are trying to create a win-win situation.
- Control your emotions — it is easy to get sucked in by another person’s behavior, especially if they are acting deliberately to provoke you.
- Take your time — there is no rush and remember that any pressure coming from the other side is probably down to desperation, however it is disguised.
- Make sure you frequently show you understand the other party’s needs and how the deal will benefit them, as well as you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask directly for what you want.
Now, I am going to write some follow-up articles on the subject as it is an extremely important one, but for now, I want you to understand the framework.
The most important part of the negotiation process is to have the right mindset and you have to remain calm, take control of your emotions and ensure that you have done your homework.
I met a very experienced negotiator a few years back, who was the former chairman of a very large, international manufacturing company, that was the target of an acquisition by another, world-famous brand.
I met this man as I was sitting alone at a bar, as you do, in a hotel in London, UK.
We got talking and over the next few days, we had a few in-depth conversations about business and life in general, and the subject of negotiating came up.
He explained to me that he was approached by a world-famous company to buy his business and to cut a very long story short, (from me) I will get to the key point.
At the inevitable meeting, he was told by the owner and chairman of this company that he had appointed his “right-hand man,” to handle the negotiations and to prepare himself for a tough meeting because “he doesn’t leave any crumbs on the table.”
At that point, my new friend explained to me that he looked straight back at the owner and explained that he, always “left crumbs on the table” and that negotiations were now terminated!
The issue here goes back to the win-win situation and that you must consider the feelings of the other party…and this is only my opinion remember, but it was great to hear of another very successful entrepreneur and businessman feeling the same way.
It’s up to you, of course, and I will be covering more points about this important aspect of business and life, in the next article.
See you soon!
Last modified: November 30, 2022