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6 ways to guarantee yourself the bad end of a negotiation

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This story appears in the March 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There are no absolute rules in negotiation; every principle has an exception. But if you've done any of the following, you've probably pulled a rookie mistake:

  • Not Having a Bottom Line: To get what you want, you've got to know what you want and be able to articulate your goals clearly. Before you sit down to negotiate, do yourself a gigantic favor: Make a wish list of what you must have, what you would like to have and what you can do without. This is your road map, and it will give you more focus and power at the bargaining table.
  • Not Setting Your Goals High Enough: If you don't ask, you don't get, so start high. The loftier your aspirations at the outset, the more you'll end up with at the closing. Ask for more than you expect, or you'll get less than you deserve.

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