On Negotiations

Going to the mattresses: Don’t lay down when it comes to negotiations

I got to thinking about negotiations during my recent car shopping adventures.

We mistakenly think the other party has the upper hand in negotiations whether that be a financial advisor, a work supervisor, or a car salesman.  We can give up our power in negotiations because we think we have none.  We do this because that’s what we’ve been taught to believe.  The other person in the transaction literally banks on us feeling disempowered.  They want us to believe they know more than we do so they can gain the upper hand.

So what’s the above-average, fantastically witty, strikingly attractive person without a finance degree and no relation to a car salesman to do?


Do our homework

We can prepare ourselves to make a deal by doing our research.  There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to make a good decision.  Lattes go well with decision making.  (I especially like the pumpkin spice version from Jane’s Cafe in Priddis, AB.)  We can use coffee downtime to educate ourselves.  A pinch of time, a splash of willingness, and a dash of effort will make us better equipped to handle any curve ball thrown at us in the metaphorical boardroom.


Have the chutzpah to walk away

When their offer will put more money in their pockets than in yours,

When they make a proposal that doesn’t seem logical,

When you feel you’re being taken for a ride (and not the good kind where you’re sitting in a Ferrari Italia),

When they try to pressure you into doing something you’re not willing or ready to do,

When they try to convince you to act fast or you’ll miss out,

When they don’t make eye contact,

When they disrespect you, talk down to you, or stop listening to you,

When they turn into the modern-day equivalent of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde,…

…walk out.


Final words on negotiations

Do we get what we want by playing hardball and leaving the head of our opponent’s prized horse in his bed while he sleeps?  Seems extreme but who am I to judge?  A better approach might be to 1) keep innocent companion animals out of it, and 2) have a conversation.  Ask questions.   If you don’t understand something, go away and research it.  Don’t say yes when you mean to say no.  Listen to your intuition.  Ask for what you want.  Most importantly, don’t give your time or money away to jerks.

In the words of Brian Sibthorpe of the Bow Cycle dynasty:

“There’s no future in being an asshole”

You got that right, Brian.  In negotiations, or otherwise.

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