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3. Balance your reputation with your increased leverage.
Of course, you may think my renegotiation with that mortgage broker negatively affected my reputation. And I understand this.
This is why I didn't renegotiate with just any change in rates.
Instead, the change from our initial negotiation -- and my resulting increased leverage -- needed to be substantial enough to justify the risk that some might consider the renegotiation an illegitimate move. But it was a big change.
And in the public corporation context, you can make a good argument that a corporation has a fiduciary duty to its shareholders to renegotiate if a much better deal arises and the reputation and financial penalties of going back to the table are not that great.
4. Explain why you're back at the table.
If you do decide to renegotiate, how should you do it?
First, make sure to explain why you are renegotiating. If you’re back at the table because the market has changed significantly, explain this and show them concrete evidence of the change.
Or, if you unexpectedly face a cash-flow problem and can't come up with the assets to close the deal, explain this in requesting an additional concession.
And second, depending on the situation, consider apologizing for coming back to the table, especially if you feel you have little choice given your changed financial circumstances or a huge market change. Perhaps even note that you hate to do it given its potential negative impact on your reputation, which you highly value.
5. Plan for possible renegotiations -- and protect yourself from the downside risk.
So what can you do if you think the other side might want to renegotiate down the line?
Insist that the original deal includes significant negative consequences for the party that wants to go at it again.
This is why parties include nonrefundable deposits and corporate deals include termination fees. Each provides disincentives to the party looking to renegotiate. And the bigger the disincentive, the less likely the renegotiation.
Renegotiations raise difficult issues with potential long-term ramifications. After all, your integrity and reputation are at stake. But addressed the right way, it's possible to get that proverbial second bite at the apple.
Just don't do it too frequently.
About the Author:
Marty Latz is the founder of the Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company and the author of "Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want." He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Copyright © 2007 Marty Latz
Copyright © 2007, The Negotiator Magazine