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Yellin' Ain't Everything

Negotiation is only one of six steps to a great deal.

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This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Many people approach a business negotiation like a bar fight. They figure it's like this: If they're strong, fast, cop the right attitude and have a few good moves, there's nothing they can't handle. To them, it's only about that verbal game we call negotiation.

But imagine yourself a world-class haggler in the following scenarios: You've negotiated a superb deal, only to find out the other side never intended to honor it, or the dealmakers are flakes who simply can't cut it. Suppose you've dickered a difficult merchant half to death then learned that a nearby competitor would have easily beaten their best price by 15 percent. Or you've bargained for an item you later find you don't need or want. As my father used to sarcastically say about distress sales, "Why not buy two? Throw them both out!"

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