Playing the Fool?

Wise up by avoiding these 5 negotiating mistakes.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

1. Not aiming high enough: If you don't ask, you don't get. In other words, ask for more than you expect, or you'll get less than you deserve.

2. Doing their job: Once you make an offer, wait. The other side has three choices: accept it, reject it, or make a counteroffer--which means you can negotiate some more. If you better your offer before the other side answers, you are giving away the store. They'll label you a wimp, then wait for the perfect moment to really start grinding you down.

3. Not knowing what you want: Do your homework. Don't waste your opponent's time. Put together a checklist (for your eyes only, of course) of what you must have, would like to have and can do without.

4. Making concessions before you've seen all the demands: If you want to be sucker punched, make concessions piecemeal. Not only will your opponents hound you for more--they will out-leverage you with an eleventh-hour demand you cannot refuse. Get demands out in the open first, then get them in writing. Once you have a bird's-eye view of the battlefield, you can make concessions, but only if your opponent takes some demands off the table, too.

5. Not flinching: If there is one negotiating tactic you should master, it's the flinch. Open any book about negotiation, and you'll see this on the first page: Never accept the first offer.

A speaker and attorney in Los Angeles, Marc Diener is author of Deal Power.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur