Negotating Tips and other facts of life

I felt like I brought a knife to a gunfight. What was supposed to be a “settlement conference,” should have been called an ambush. I was outgunned, big time! Whatever was going on, obviously, I didn’t know the rules of this game.

I suppose if I learned anything, it was this:  I needed to know a lot more about this thing called NEGOTIATING.

After a little research, here’s what I discovered:

Negotiation is a noun, meaning a mutual discussion and arrangement of the terms of an agreement.

Negotiating is an action verb; it means to deal with or bargain with another toward a mutually beneficially contract or business deal.

The operative word here is: mutual agreement.

Agreement is the basis of all successful negotiation. And, not surprisingly, it’s also the basis of all successful selling.

Lies that you tell yourself are still lies.

An agreement is a meeting of the minds between two or more people, each considering that their needs and wants have been sufficiently satisfied to conclude the negotiation.

Ideally, it is not a zero-sum game, where one person loses, and the other wins, as in a chess match. In fact, there is no such thing as a “one-sided agreement.”

FACT: In negotiations, an agreement is mutual, or it isn’t an agreement.

NOTE TO SELF: Keep the above principle in mind for future negotiations.

Now, because I like to share any hard-won nuggets of wisdom gleaned from my bad experiences in obtaining a post-graduate degree in the school of hard knocks, here are a few tips that might get you started on the right track, in hopes you will avoid the cost of making them yourself.

NEGOTIATING TIPS and other facts of Life

All people lie some of the time; some people lie all of the time. Learn to tell the difference.

If something feels wrong, it is wrong.

Anything can be negotiated.

Value is determined by how much something is wanted.

Let them call the deal anything they want, as long as they don’t change the economics.

In an impasse, go back to your original purpose; simplify and clarify it.

Train yourself to hear what they’re NOT SAYING.

Technology and people alike can fail at the worst possible moment.

Never tell everything you know.

Ask “open-ended” questions, then shut up and listen.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

If it sounds too good to be real, it’s probably illegal.

An opinion or the assumption that “everybody knows” doesn’t make it a fact.

The thing that could “never happen,” can, and most likely will, at the most inopportune time.

Don’t be afraid to be assertive (but not necessarily aggressive).

Give away elements you don’t want and never bend on the important ones.

Look around the table. If you can’t spot the SUCKER at the table in the first thirty minutes, it’s you!

If something sounds “incredible,” it’s not credible.

Time and information are primary assets in any negotiation; to be used for or against you.

If you’re only hearing what you want to hear, you’re being set up.

If you feel you’re being manipulated; you are!

Good advice: Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.

False assumptions can be harmful to your wealth, and your health.

The value of favor is forgotten as soon as it is performed. Ask for a quid-pro-quo, before you do the favor. Ask,: “If I do this for you, what are you prepared to do for me?”

An accident happens once, a coincidence twice. Three times means something is VERY WRONG. Take action, immediately!

In negotiations, patience is indeed a virtue.

Don’t let methods (yours or theirs) violate your principles.

Any verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

The side that understands the most about people always has the stronger negotiating position.

Your position is always stronger than you think it is. So is theirs.

Develop “walk-away” power and don’t be afraid to use it.

Trust, but verify.

Daniel Jacobs
(c) 2005, all rights reserved


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