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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #17: February, 2005


On negotiating:

  • Start from a very strong position and work your way down from there. Surprisingly, your strong position may be accepted as is. That applies to payment terms, fee levels, etc.
  • Understand your "musts" and don't sacrifice them for mere "wants." Give in on the discretionary things, fight to the finish on the critical things.
  • Listen more than you talk. Don't attempt to fill silences.
  • Don't be in a hurry. Say that you have to think about it. Take a day.
  • Rehearse beforehand. Have someone role-play the likely opposition and objections and practice your responses.
  • Do not meet on the other party's turf if at all possible. Choose a neutral site. (Even a client conference room is better than the buyer's office.)
  • Never negotiate with underlings. If the accounts payable manager doesn't like the terms, tell him or her to take it up with your buyer who originally agreed with them. Never argue with a hotel desk clerk. Ask for the senior manager on duty.
  • Understand precedent, both yours and theirs. If precedent is in your favor, bargain harder. If precedent indicates you're asking for something never before granted, be prepared to be more flexible (but don't abandon all hope).
  • Try not to go one-on-ten. Negotiate with one person, not a team if at all possible. Otherwise, you'll have a roomful of people trying to impress each other at your expense.
  • Don't burn bridges. This is business, don't take it personally. Neither gloat nor pout, do not celebrate or seek revenge. Move on.

Suggested Reading: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

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