Negotiations work best when each party is equally motivated to get a deal done. The parties can then make a deal that meets the legitimate needs of both parties. Everyone wins.
In many negotiations, however, the parties are not equally motivated. The Person with the Least Interest Controls any negotiation. What do you do when you find yourself in a position of weakness because have the greatest interest in consummating the deal?
You have at least two options. First, you can resign yourself to the idea that you will do the deal whatever the cost, and prepare to get the short stick. From my vantage point, that’s not an appealing option.
Alternatively, you can look for ways to even the odds of a favorable negotiation.
One technique that helps level the playing field is to just say “no.” Say “no” early and often. Say “no” regularly and consistently. Say “no” one time more than you are comfortable doing so.
Saying “no” helps diffuse your eagerness to close the deal. It slows down the negotiation, and forces the parties to look for creative ways to get the deal done. Saying “no” helps you fine tune the details of your deal.
Don’t be rude or belligerent when you say “no.” Be respectful of the other party, and emphasize your interest in reaching a deal. Keep the negotiation moving by making counterproposals and suggestions for bridging the gap between your positions.
Be polite and firm, but say “no” nonetheless. Look for areas of agreement. Find issues that are important to the other side but cost you little, and gradually make concessions on those issues. Even when the motivations in your deal appear to be lopsided in favor of the other side, you can almost always find ways to negotiate a more favorable deal.
But first you must slow down the negotiation by saying “no”.
Say “no” one time more than you are comfortable doing so, and you will negotiate better deals.
I am, first of all, a husband and father. Rebecca and I have been married 23 years; we have four children ages 21, 19, 18, and 15. My family is my greatest joy in life. For 24 years, I have practiced business law in Arizona, the past eleven as the managing partner of Gibson Ferrin, PLC. We help businesses and their owners meet their business and personal goals. My practice focuses on the intersection between intellectual property law and employment law. I help businesses prosper by properly managing their intangible assets.
I am licensed to practice law in Arizona only. Though I believe the advice in BiziBoom™ is based on sound legal principles, the law of your jurisdiction may be different. The advice given on BiziBoom™ is informational only; it may not be applicable to your specific situation. You should seek the advice of competent counsel in your jurisdiction, someone who knows the particular legal requirements of your jurisdiction. Until you have signed an engagement letter with Gibson Ferrin, PLC, neither the Firm nor I are acting as your legal counsel. Nothing on BiziBoom™ creates an attorney/client relationship between you and the Firm.