When deal making or negotiating remember:

1Prepare, prepare, prepare. Preparation is an investment of time. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail. Who is on each side? What’s the history? What’s the balance of bargaining power? What’s the ideal outcome? What can each side afford to give away? What’s the bottom line?

2Bring a positive attitude. If you feel like you are going to lose, that’s what will happen. Be confident, and be prepared to give the other side what they need too. Don’t be a “user” who takes advantage of the other side. Don’t be a “loser” who comes to the negotiation with a defeatist attitude. Be a “Fuser” – prepared to fuse the agendas of both sides in order to create currency for both sides. All long lasting, successful deals are based on this state of mind.

3Marshal your bargaining power. It’s easy to under-estimate your own bargaining power and over-estimate your opponent’s. Identify the Aces that you hold to boost your confidence. Do you have Expertise on your side? Authority? Market power? Network power? Rules and Regulations? These are all sources of bargaining power.

4When you’re bargaining, don’t give away something for nothing. Always ask for something back. There is generally no such thing as a goodwill concession. And keep points open so you can put packages together to deal with difficult issues. If you just leave the difficult points to the end you will have no concessions left with which to solve them.

5Ask for what you want. The more you ask for the more you get, so there’s no point holding back. And you only need one good reason to support what you ask for – don’t waffle – the more you say the more you give away.

6Be prepared to try different behaviours to break a deadlock. Different behaviours suit different stages of a negotiation, so don’t just rely on your ‘old favourites’. “Push” behaviour (working off your agenda) suits the bidding and bargaining phase of a negotiation. “Pull” behaviour (working off the other side’s agenda) suits earlier stages such as exploration. Different behaviours also suit different people. We all have our own patterns for perceiving the world. There is no point using “reasoned” behaviour to deal with someone who leads with their heart, or “big-picture” thinking to influence someone who is more comfortable with detail.

7Work out what everybody needs. This is not always easy, as people tend to hide behind surface wants like “price” or “quantity” rather than revealing their real emotional drivers. But it’s those underlying needs that must be addressed to craft a “fused” solution that suits both sides. What are the needs on each side – Reassurance? Survival? Achievement? Respect? A sense of belonging? You are a detective looking for cues and clues about what is really going on.

8Know when the deal is done and close it quickly. Closure is a fluid moment. If you keep going beyond that point you risk blowing the whole deal. Tempting as it is don’t just keep haggling. The other side may change their mind because they lose interest, have a change of personnel, have a restructure or change their strategy.

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