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10 Tips for Better Negotiating

Segueway to Success

Listen at – “Segueway to Success – 10 Tips for Better Negitiating

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By: Brent Hamachek and Tom Kuchan

Our “Segueway to Success” show, talking about our blog, airs each Wednesday at 15:00 CST.  Find today’s show and the archives on our web site:

When asked, most business people will describe themselves as being a “tough” negotiator.  What they really mean is that when they are in a position of power they try to exploit it to their full advantage.  It’s easy to negotiate when you hold all the cards.  In fact, often you don’t negotiate, you dictate.  What about when the party on the other side of the table is bigger and stronger than you?  Is it hopeless?  Or can preparation lead to coming out on top?  Negotiating is a skill that can be learned.  Here are some tips, all learned through over 20 years of tested experience, to help you negotiate when you are seemingly in an inferior position to the other side of the table:

All-Supreme Rule:  Don’t lose control of the negotiating process!  Always make the next step yours.

1.  Determine what you need to get out of the negotiation vs. what you might want to get out of it.  Landslide victories are rare, focus on the essential.

2.  Assess the same question from the other side’s perspective.  They are at the table for a reason, larger foes don’t waste their own time.

3.  Create a plan – Comprehensive, rehearsed, dynamic

4.  Create lots of variables; always bring along extras -Mix them up regardless of importance and flexibility

5.  Protect your king -Whenever possible, layer your conversations; act big like they really are big

6.  Never panic, always adapt – When things unravel, refer to your plan, and if necessary, make a new plan.

7.  Close off portions of your negotiation as you proceed and get the other side to agree they are closed – Compartmentalizing is key.  Powerful foes like to play whack-a-mole.

8.  Price usually comes last and then you get to haggle – keep the range tight and remind them that everything already agreed to limits play on price.

9.  Don’t get greedy – always refer back to what you established in Step One.

10.  When you are down to one bullet, empty your clip!  Don’t ever have a lost outcome when there was one more thing you could have done

Remember that selling and negotiating are not the same.  Selling is getting a commitment to buy.  Negotiating is setting the terms for that buy.  Starting negotiations too soon jeopardizes the sale.

The above point is frequently ignored and creates many failed sales opportunities.  Just imagine if you were trying to meet an attractive person sitting alone in a nightclub.  You approach them to show interest and offer to buy them a drink.  Before they can answer you let them know that you also want to have two kids, you would eventually like to move into an earth home, and every Friday and Saturday night you go out with your friends and don’t want them to join you.  Do you think that you are going to be able to buy that person that drink?  Slim chance.  You started to negotiate terms of a relationship before you had even established one.  You wouldn’t make that mistake in a tavern (or we hope you wouldn’t) but people make that mistake in business settings all the time.

If you are one of those people who pride themselves in saying “I don’t negotiate with anybody.  My deal is my deal,” don’t kid yourself.  That kind of stance is a negotiating position.  Sometimes it can be very appropriate and effective.  However, if it is the only strategy you ever employ, it might make you feel as tough as if you were wearing ten tattoos on your arm but it really is a sign of weakness.  Being so rigid that you never adapt to a different strategy when circumstances warrant will cause you to leave money on the table.  Every situation is unique and requires a unique approach.  We should learn from our past experiences and incorporate the lessons, but in negotiating we must approach each situation as though it is one that never existed before.  Only then can the optimal strategy be crafted.

Join us this Wednesday on Segueway to Success when we discuss the importance of negotiating strategy for the privately owned business.  Often those companies find themselves negotiating against much larger adversaries.  Much like the marital arts, we will discuss how to use your opponent’s size and weight against them and come out on top.

Segueway Solutions –

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Brent E. Hamachek spent the first 15 years of his professional life in banking, working in 6 different sectors including audit, credit and 9 years as a commercial banker.

After commercial banking, Brent formed Segueway Solutions in 2000 in order to assist privately held companies in transition. To date, he has worked in 40 different industries and has served in the capacity of CEO, CFO & EVP Sales for clients. Brent is a sought after consultant, speaker and trainer offering national and foreign expertise to clients.

Tom Kuchan is a proven leader in global business expansion and effectiveness, risk management, finance and operations with experience in both Fortune 50 and entrepreneurial environments. He has a proven record of defining strategic objectives, translating them into operational tasks, and leading their implementation in diverse geographies and cultures across the globe.

Tom has lived overseas for over twenty years, including Switzerland, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, and has worked extensively across Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

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