The Person With The Least Interest Controls

Everyone negotiates.

Let me rephrase that:  Everyone negotiates every day.

Parents negotiate to convince toddlers to eat their “mmm, yummy, good” chicken nuggets.  Teenagers negotiate for a later curfew or for expanded car privileges.  Spouses negotiate to determine who will pick up Sally from her dance lessons.

Everyone negotiates every day.

Negotiation permeates every aspect of your business.  You negotiate salaries with your employees and prices with your customers, lease terms with your landlord and vacation dates with your colleagues, payment terms with vendors and delivery deadlines with clients.

Your ability to negotiate directly impacts the success of your business. If you want to succeed in business, you must learn how to negotiate successfully.

The best advice I know on negotiating is simple, yet profound.  It came from an unlikely source, a class on courtship and marriage.  It may not have been intended to be advice on negotiating, but it nonetheless is.  What is that critical advice?

The person with the least amount of interest controls the relationship.  

Whether the negotiation involves asking for a date, seeking a job, or making a sales call, the person who is least interested – the person who is willing to walk away from the deal – has the greatest say in whether and on what terms the deal gets done.

A simple example highlights this principle.  Several months ago, a copier sales representative approached my office manager about leasing new copiers.  Sales were slow, and he was anxious to make a sale.

We, on the other hand, had eight or ten months left on our current lease, were very satisfied with our current copier, and saw no reason to change.  So, she thanked him for asking, but declined his offer.

Our sales rep was persistent.  Over six weeks, he kept coming back with increasingly better offers.  Finally, he made an offer that was too good to pass up.  We now have a newer version of the copier we loved, a color copier, five color printers, a higher monthly copy allowance, lower overage charges, the old lease paid off, six months free on the new lease, and tickets to the local theatre.  And our monthly payment has not changed.

The person with the least amount of interest controls the relationship.  Understand this principle and your business will boom.

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