Wednesday, March 12, 2008

8 strategies of Wise Negotiators

LET’S look at the most profound yet subtle strategies for wise negotiating…as practised at the top.


CEOs who sell and negotiate successfully know that sometimes even the most valiant fight may not be worth the potential loss it entails. They know it’s up to them to assign value to the campaign they decide to take on or decline — not outside forces like sales vice-presidents or prospective customers. In other words, good CEOs are more likely to ‘walk’ when they sense there will be no alternative to a bad deal. They don’t negotiate a deal just to say they’ve negotiated something.

Once they take on a negotiating project — or any project, for that matter, — CEOs ensure everything on the ‘hot list’
gets taken care of. They can’t afford to leave any loose ends at a negotiating session, and they commit to following through on all their commitments. You’ll want to do the same.


Successful CEOs know that you can’t reap what you don’t sow. Their actions always seem to be in accordance with the ‘ebb and flow’. They get involved early in important deals, they know when to wait, and they know when to push. This trait comes in handy at negotiating sessions.


CEOs have certain values that they just won’t compromise. That’s not to say they are stubborn, but they do know how, when and where to draw a boundary. Ill-advised departures from guiding principles can carry huge costs, the most important of which are non-monetary: lower self-worth, lower esteem, damaged reputation and damaged self-image, to name just a few.


Successful CEOs are happy with what they have and who they are. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to grow and prosper. They just know the importance of being happy with what is taking place in here and now. That may not seem like a trait for successful negotiations, but it is. Envy saps energy and poisons relationships; admiration of another’s positive traits and accomplishments is a supreme compliment that helps you focus on what you need to improve in your life, your business, your relationships, your finances — and your negotiating posture.


This is a great (and simple) ‘negotiating tactic’ that many CEOs mention. This tactic is all about not inheriting someone’s unresolved problem as your own. If one had a dollar for every time one heard “We don’t have that amount of money in our budget,” or “We don’t have a budget,” or “Your price is too high,” or “I don’t have the authority,” or “We can’t move forward right now,” or “We need this by no later than next Monday,” one would be a millionaire. Look at all these typical responses again, and one will see that each is an attempt to put the buyer’s issues onto the seller’s list of problems.

Instead of fighting the problem, putting it off until ‘later on’ in the negotiations or throwing a new one into the mix, what would happen if one approached the problem from the standpoint of finding a solution — of acting as a consultant with the responsibility of finding an outcome that makes both sides happy?


To think, sell and negotiate like a CEO, you must understand that more than anyone in an organisation, the CEO has the ultimate walk-away power. The power to walk away is the most profound negotiating tactic that a CEO will use. He/she basically says “I am totally willing to pass on this opportunity.” There is a big difference in that thinking Vs “I am going to get the price as low as I can before I buy.” Walk-away power takes the opportunity past the point of no return. The winning party will convince the other party that they can and will walk away from the relationship (buy or sell). Keep in mind that the goal here is not to actually ‘walk’; the goal is to get the other party to do whatever the ‘walking’ party wants them to do.


Asking for more than is expected (moving beyond expectations) is a great trait of CEOs. You’ll be able to see this one coming if you’re a salesperson because you’re already conditioned to the “do whatever it takes to get the sale” mentality. CEOs know this, too. Therefore, be prepared, and you may even want to use this yourself when you’re on the ‘seller’s’ side of the table. By doing so, you’ll be modelling an important CEO negotiating trait.

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