FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM JANUARY 2007
The thing I hate about negotiating is that when there’s a tough one — no one ends up winning (unless there’s a lawyer involved).
People are always asking me to conduct a class or write a book about negotiation. And my statement to them is: Why? Negotiation is 100% about price. I will put a caveat on that statement: sometimes it’s price and terms; but another word for negotiation is money.
You also hear about the word compromise as part of a negotiation. I define compromise as both parties not getting what they want. The challenge in a negotiation is knowing where you want to end up, what you’re willing to take, or what you’re willing to give or give up.
But the bottom line is, sometimes you have to be willing to walk away and abort the negotiation.
Then there’s the element of time. Sometimes people will compromise out of exasperation — been doing it for too long, it’s time to make a deal. You’ve probably heard it in your life, someone says, “—- or get off the pot.”
The reason I’m writing about negotiation and compromise is that I am currently in some big time lawyer’s office conference room trying to complete one. And I am somewhere between “get it over with,” and “walk away.” Walk away means lawsuit. Get it over with means lick your wounds, pay your dues, and let your attitude prevail.
Sometimes negotiations stall because both parties become intransigent. When this happens, your lawyer can actually be your friend. The one thing I think I should add here is that negotiations are often more emotional than logical.
My fatal flaw in negotiation is that when I’m in one, I tend to want to stick to my ideals and what I believe to be fair. The problem that I have encountered over the last 40 years is: Life ain’t fair.
The one thing you need in a negotiation is someone else (or someone elses) to help drag emotion back to logic. The object of any kind of negotiation is to make some settlement or to reach some agreement.
But the problem lies in the fact of what led up to the negotiation — and how volatile that is, or how emotional that is. The more emotional, the less you’re willing to compromise. And the less you’re willing to compromise, the more voices of reason you need in order to help you get over it.
The one I am in at the moment isn’t friendly. And as the negotiation continues, compromises become less and emotions get higher.
Let me bring this back to your reality. You may be negotiating with a buyer, a vendor, a banker, a former employee, even an ex-spouse. The simple key is to know your high, know your low, know your terms and conditions, and be willing to stand your ground. Standing your ground is not easy because it often involves other people trying to tell you to get off your ground.
There are a hundred negotiation tactics or gambits, most of which don’t work, and all of which are somewhat manipulative.
As you can probably tell by now — negotiation is not my favorite subject. But as any other part of business, if you’re not good at it, and you’re not wiling to study the science of it, you will fall victim to someone who is.
I asked my lawyer what his rules of negotiation are, and in a Solomon like tone said, “There are no rules in negotiation. The main thing you need is patience.”
Now he tells me! I haven’t had patience for 18 years.
But the wisdom here is every negotiation carries a separate set of criteria. And if you try tactics or some gambit from one negotiation to another, it’s likely you will lose. In this particular negotiation — however it turns out, I will still feel like I lost. The key is not the negotiation — the key is how I will get over it.
My attitude will allow me to walk out of my lawyer’s conference room — and forget about it. Oh, I will deal with the details. But under a minute later, I’m over it. I have other things to do in my business and my life, and I want to make sure that they are done in a positive manner.
One of the reasons lawyers get paid a lot of money is that they have to deal with this kind of crap every day. I on the other hand, have a life.
If you want more about negotiation that my dad taught me, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you are first-time user and enter the word NEGOTIATE in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on sales and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM JANUARY 2007