The Negotiator Magazine

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2. The Secret of the Orange Ball
Principle: Know who is in control of the Orange Ball, and how to get it back.

We refer to the person in control as the one holding The Orange Ball. Someone has to be in control in order for the renegotiation to move foreword. If you don’t know who has the Orange Ball, it will be difficult to drive the renegotiation in your direction.

Using the above example, when you go to your landlord, he controls the Orange Ball. This is important because if you don’t control renegotiation you can’t direct it in your direction.

The next day, the landlord tells you he’s willing to let you change the lease, but not break it. He’ll give you a break on the rent if you give him some assurances. You explain to the landlord that you really can’t afford much and would rather just move. The landlord asks you how much you can afford. You tell him you can afford to half the current rent. Now you’ve taken back the Orange Ball.

He suggests that he accept half rent for four months, and then you would pay $200 extra each month until the discount is paid off. He has now taken back the Orange Ball.

You tell him you can’t afford an extra $200 per month, but you can handle an additional $50. You settle on an additional $75 and then you ask for six months instead of four months. The landlord agrees. You’ve controlled the Orange Ball and directed the renegotiation.

3. Hit the Refresh Button
Principle: Never overreact or act impulsively — take a deep breath and listen.

The Refresh Button techniques are used to get control of, and keep, the Orange Ball:

 

These three techniques help set the manner in which you renegotiate.  They also set a tone for how you will behave and lead the renegotiation to help both sides behave properly.

4. Transcend the Details
Principle: Go beyond the details in order to stay on The Critical Path.

The solution to any renegotiation usually does not lie in the details of the transaction. It is important to not get bogged down in details that don’t help create a settlement. Focusing on details that don’t move the renegotiation forward will always impede the process.

5. Call in the Cavalry
Principle: Make sure you have the right person renegotiating, at all times. If not, Call in the Cavalry.

It is important not to renegotiate with your ego. Bringing in a third party to renegotiate on your behalf can be critical to creating a settlement. Creating a buffer between you and the other party can help to provide a quicker settlement than trying to do everything yourself.

These five principles are based on the fact that everyone can learn to renegotiate successfully, and with integrity. In fact, everyone must learn to renegotiate with integrity. If we have to break our promises or commitments, let’s learn to do it right. And let’s behave properly — with insight, forethought, and compassion — when promises or commitments to us are broken. It works both ways.

Marc Freeman, author of the upcoming book Renegotiating with Integrity: It’s Not Business, It’s Personal, has worked with companies all over the world, helping them to renegotiate hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts. A recognized expert in his field, Marc has developed a unique, practical approach to renegotiating based on the simple principles of respect, honesty, creativity and clear communications. For more information, please contact Marc at marc@marcfreeman.com or at 641-472-2727.

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January 2007