The Negotiator Magazine

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The last thing in the world the agent wanted to do was present an offer at $1.2 million-$600,000 below the asking price-but finally I convinced him to try it and off he went to present the offer. By doing that, he made a tactical error. He shouldn't have gone to them; he should have had them come to him. You always have more control when you're negotiating in your power base than if you go to their power base.

He came back a few hours later, and I asked him, "How did it go?"
"It was awful, just awful. I'm so embarrassed." He told me. "I got into this large conference room, and all of the principals had come in for the reading of the offer. They brought with them their attorney, their CPA, and their real estate broker. I was planning to do the silent close on them." (Which is to read the offer and then be quiet. The next person who talks loses in the negotiations.) "The problem was, there wasn't any silence. I got down to the $1.2 million and they said, 'Wait a minute. You're coming in $600,000 low? We're insulted." Then they all got up and stormed out of the room.

I said, "Nothing else happened?"
He said, "Well, a couple of the principals stopped in the doorway on their way out, and they said: 'We're not gonna come down to a penny less than $1.5 million.' It was just awful. Please don't ever ask me to present an offer that low again."

I said, "Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that, in five minutes, you got them to come down $300,000, and you feel bad about the way the negotiations went?"

See how easy it is to be thrown off by what the other people are doing, rather than concentrating on the issues in a negotiation. It's inconceivable that a full-time professional negotiator, say an international negotiator, would walk out of negotiations because he doesn't think the other people are fair. He may walk out, but it's a specific negotiating tactic, not because he's upset.

Can you imagine a top arms negotiator showing up in the White House, and the President saying, "What are you doing here? I thought you were in Geneva negotiating with the Russians."

"Well, yes, I was, Mr. President, but those guys are so unfair. You can't trust them and they never keep their commitments. I got so upset, I just walked out." Power Negotiators don't do that. They concentrate on the issues, not on the personalities. You should always be thinking, "Where are we now, compared to where we were an hour ago or yesterday or last week?"

Secretary of State Warren Christopher said, "It's okay to get upset when you're negotiating, as long as you're in control, and you're doing it as a specific negotiating tactic." It's when you're upset and out of control that you always lose.

That's why salespeople will have this happen to them. They lose an account. They take it into their sales manager, and they say, "Well, we lost this one. Don't waste any time trying to save it. I did everything I could. If anybody could have saved it, I would have saved it."

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