At some point in business, you will have to negotiate. You might have to negotiate with your supplier, landlord, client, or a strategic partner. There are times when you have to do the nerve wrecking thing and compete against larger companies for deals. There are some negotiation strategies I learned from Donald Trump’s books that helped me during these negotiations. Believe me, if you wanted negotiation strategies in business, he is the man to get them from. Here are some tips I learned from him and others that helped me a lot.
Negotiation Strategies Overview
Don’t Be Emotionally Attached
The most important negotiation strategy is to not get emotionally attached to any deal. The purpose is so that you are able to walk away from any deal. Trump’s main point was that it is better to have no deal than to get into a bad (money losing) one. We all know too well that it is harder to put into practice than it is to say. I should know better because I have been there. I have negotiated strategic partnership deals that could have been a huge blow to my business if we did not get it. Through another strategy (brinkmanship) we did get it thanks to the steady mentoring of one of my investors.
There Is No Win Win Deal
This may come as a surprise to many who have heard “gurus” talk about getting win win deals as a negotiation strategy. This only sounds like a fair and amicable solution but it really doesn’t make sense. A more accurate description would be compromise on both sides and both sides having lost something. There is no win win deal. So having known this, you would understand that every point in your negotiation you gain, the other side loses. The only way both sides win is if you were on the same side then which there would be no negotiations in the first place. The only way to get a win deal for you is if you have holding/staying power, are patient, and some bargaining power. Donald Trump has patience. A lot of it. I believe one of the deals he worked on was not in weeks or months but in years. He finally got it. Good for him! Perhaps most of us can’t wait that long but then that’s why he’s him and we’re us.
If You Don’t Have Time, You Can’t Win
The thing that gets most people in many deals is not lack of resources, or talent, or strategy but the lack of time. Think about it, if both parties needed the deal, and you had all the time in the world to negotiate, you would have the upper hand. Unfortunately for many, time is an issue because they are either losing out on profits, growth opportunities, or worse, losing money. So they negotiate with a sense of urgency which usually reduces their bargaining power. You may be able to negotiate on some deals while not being a slave to time. I’m not saying take years or decades and be unproductive, usually in business where both parties benefits from a deal, months should be sufficient. The best negotiation strategy is to not be a slave to urgency by having multiple deals line up at once, and spread your nets wide. In a financial portfolio management sense, diversify your portfolio. Close smaller unimportant ones, don’t even bat an eye, and leave the big ones for the wins.
While these negotiation strategies are not exhaustive, I believe they address the big wig factors in negotiation. If you can tip any of these factors to your favor, you can be on your way to be a better negotiator. You can read up on negotiation tactics here which go into more detail, but I believe some may have made too much of an art into science.