Friday, January 30, 2009

Get What You Want: 5 Ways to Win Every Negotiation

1. You must be fearless when negotiating. You cannot let them bully, intimidate or frighten you. Remember, you hold all the cards because you can walk out whenever you want. There are plenty of other places for you to spend your money.

2. You have to know what you want. Walking into a negotiation blind is suicide. You must have an idea of the final outcome and then you need to keep that secret. Don't walk in and lay your cards on the table, but play the game. That means you need to do your homework. You need to know what the item really costs and then negotiate from that position. Fortunately the Internet has all that information available.

3. You need to make sure you are negotiating with a decision maker. Don't waste time haggling with junior personnel that cannot make decisions. Ask to speak to someone with the power to negotiate and make it clear you will only speak to them.

4. You must follow through then-and-there. If you get what you want from the negotiation, you must commit to the sale on the spot. If you come back later you will need to re-negotiate with whomever is present and you will have wasted everyone's time. Don't enter into a negotiation if you don't have the money to pull the trigger.

5. You need to get tough. There is a point in time in every negotiation where you will need to get tough. It is critical that you do this at the right time. It is that moment when the parties are all tired and the other side has drawn a proverbial line in the sand. That is the moment you must go on the offensive and make it clear you are not afraid to walk away from the table.

For example, I bought a car for my wife two years ago. We came in close to closing time so I could benefit from the staff's exhaustion from a long day of work (I'm evil.). Throughout the entire negotiation, the salesman kept ignoring incoming phone calls on his cell phone. The entire time we were haggling, he kept hitting the Ignore button on that cell phone with a look of growing concern. Finally, he drew that line in the sand and I pounced:

"Look, buddy, I want to buy this car but I am not paying that price. We've been here for more than 2 hours arguing because you refuse to see reason. Right now, your girlfriend is throwing that nice dinner she cooked for you into the trash. She's changing out of that sexy nightgown and putting on that horrible, nasty nightshirt because she's furious that you haven't answered any of her calls. I wouldn't be surprised if she isn't calling some other guy right now, all because you are being a pain in the ass over $1000. Either come down, or I'm walking away and you get nothing at all tonight."
I wish I had a picture of his face; all his resistance collapsed. I took him apart because I correctly assumed that all those phone calls where from his girlfriend. Do I feel bad for wrecking this man? Hell no! I got the price I wanted and my wife drive home in her new car. He got a commission check and a chance to make up with his girlfriend.

The point is, in every negotiation you have to wait for that magic moment and then attack. Once they believe you are prepared to walk away, you will win. Try it and let me know how it works out for you in the Comments section below. I can't wait to hear from you.

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  1. No comments for a year? Oh well, I liked your story.

    Although one rule of negotiation is never let the other person feel you've taken advantage of them. It can seriously backfire.


  2. Awww.. nice comment