Ten tips to get the best deal every time

everything is negotiable webI’ve just finished reading Everything is Negotiable by Gavin Kennedy. Great book. Whatever you do in life this book will help you negotiate better deals for yourself. What follows are Gavin’s top ten tips to negotiate the best deal every time.

1. Think about why you want what you want and why the other party wants what they want. You must relate your pitch to the other parties interests not just your own. For example you may want sponsorship for an event from a corporate partner. Your interests are to cover the costs of your event. Consider why your corporate partner may not agree to your request and then focus on why they might say yes. What could your event do for them?

2. Think ranges not just positions. Think of a position as ‘who gets how much of what, where and when’ Negotiation is about trading on a range of all of these issues. For example, rather than a deadlock about whether we go to the cinema on Friday night or out for dinner the negotiation might be; If I choose where we go tonight, then you choose where we go on Friday (as long as its not KFC – sometimes there is no room for negotiation – see point 10).

3. Remember we all value things differently. We normally negotiate a deal that involves more than one issue. By combining packages of things we value less with things we value more, we are likely to find a combination that both parties can accept. For example if I value immediate payment for cash flow reasons, I may value the swift payment more than I value my highest hourly rate. I may be willing to take a lower price in return for a swift (cash) payment.

4. Be polite and humble. Being courteous never got anyone a worse deal. Being aggressive is more likely to end in deadlock or people not ever wanting to negotiate with you again.

5. Learn something about the businesses, organisations and history of the people with whom you negotiate. Knowing your business and the business of the parties you negotiate inside out means you will be able to respond quickly with answers to questions and rejections. The more you know about your business, your competition and other stakeholders in your negotiations, the better negotiator you become.

6. Use ‘if – then’ Whenever you propose anything work on the formula; If you could give me this I could consider offering you that. If they reject what you want then they don’t get what they want. Then it becomes their turn to offer an ‘if – then’ situation to you.

7. Remember you can at any time simply say ‘no’ to a deal that does not meet your interests. If you feel uncomfortable, then trust your gut – think how you would feel months or years later or even in tomorrows tabloid. If the outcome doesn’t feel right, if you are not getting what you want, then (politely) say no.

8. Treat everyone with the greatest of personal respect. No matter how you feel about them as people or how they are treating you, keep the moral high ground. Everyone will react more warmly to someone that shows them respect than to someone who does not.

9. Always meet the terms of the contracts that you negotiate and agree to (and where you can go beyond). A deal is a personal commitment. Treat the deal as if it is for life. Follow up and check that all is OK and there are no problems. Negotiating is about building relationships

10. Always remember that everything is negotiable – and renegotiable. Even in the bleakest of situations you can always negotiate or renegotiate.

For more detail I recommend you read the book. Or alternatively practice negotiating with children – their negotiation skills, which admittedly may not follow all of the 10 principles above are nevertheless a force to be reckoned with.

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