Rule of 5: Negotiating

5dollarbill

I was having coffee with a friend on Monday who was lamenting his inability to negotiate his raise successfully with his employer.  He deeply believed that negotiation was a skill he just didn’t possess, and never would.  It was a skill, he determined, full of mystery – taught at some mountain top negotiation dojo by a guru who he would never see…

…all while he told me how he bought his new car at invoice and at wonderful terms.

When I asked about his perceived incongruity between not being able to negotiate and yet still swinging a great car deal, his response was that car deals are easy – everybody knows what everybody wants and the goal is simple: create an arrangement that makes everyone happy 🙂  Of course, this is the art of negotiation, and leads into my Rule of 5 for negotiation – again passed on by my mentor, a man who also served as a surrogate father figure, Sensei Kuras.

  1. Prepare for the negotiation by knowing your facts.  Know as much about your side AND THEIRS as possible.  This is a case when knowledge truly is power.
  2. Figure out what you really need and what you really want.  Understand the difference.
  3. Figure out what you don’t care about…but don’t let anyone else know this.  In fact, it might be good to make them think you really want something you don’t care about – to be surrendered later.
  4. Figure out what the other party really wants and needs as best you can.  Use common sense – this will win most battles.
  5. Create a win-win outcome to ensure that everyone is as happy as possible.  Why make enemies when you can leave the table as friends?  You CAN negotiate like a Christ-follower and win (by helping the other party win too!).

Most of history’s negotiations have been won by people applying these 5 Rules well.  There are more advanced tactics, but if you follow these, you will best 95% of the populace.

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