The Negotiator

Don't be a pushover at the negotiating table. These eight tips will help you get your game face on and stand firm.

By Marc Diener

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Just as strong is the word we often use to describe goodcoffee, tough is the word we often use to describe goodnegotiators. There's a definite advantage to being known thisway; it immediately reduces your opponent's expectations. Somemay soften, others will try harder; but in this competitive worldof business, they will all respect you for not being a softtouch.

Toughness is partly about your game face, but it's alsoabout technique. When you're called on, or choose, to take thehard line, here are some ways to strengthen your game:

  • Don't talk too much. Be terse. The less you say, the lessyou reveal about your own position. The less you say, the more youcan listen for weaknesses or opportunities.

Use the power of silence--it tends to make the other sideuncomfortable. In fact, many would rather tell you where thetreasure is buried than tolerate these awkward moments.

  • Be stingy with your concessions. It can really grind youropponents down. Make them work for their supper. They may tire orskip dessert, the appetizer or even the main coursealtogether.

If you must give, give just a little, and get something back inreturn--even if it's their agreement to take an issue off thetable.

  • Be firm. No means no. As they say in the movies,"Resistance is futile." If you don't want to give apoint, make your opponents feel like they just hit the wall. Youwill not be perceived as a jerk, so long as you offer a plausibleexplanation for your position.
  • Stake out issues that are non-negotiable.
  • This is classic. By framing an issuethis way, you make it twice as hard on the other side. Before youeven address their concern, they must first persuade you toentertain it.
  • Don't care too much. Desire is the fulcrum at thebargaining table. Persuading your opponents that their deal justain't that important is the ultimate attitude adjustment.Theywill not pester you with unending demands if they sense you're30 seconds away from blowing them off.
  • Keep things moving. Don't let your opponents backtrack onyou. Once an issue is settled, it's settled. Be supremelyefficient and businesslike. Your opponents must feel that your timeis precious and that you do not suffer fools at all.
  • Play to your advantage. If you've got more experience, makesure your opponents know it. If you can crush them with your cardfile, drop a few names. If you know your opponents are in a hurry,take your time.
  • Stay focused. In detailed negotiations, mental stamina is atremendous asset. Victory goes to the dogged. It's just likesports. Stay strong through the finish. The last person standing atthe bargaining table is the one with the greatest power ofconcentration.

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

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

What Does the Banking Crisis Mean for Startups and Small Business Owners?

Author, CPA and business owner Gene Marks break down everything entrepreneurs need to know about the impact of the SVB collapse.

Business News

'Invest In That Future Now Before It's Too Late': Bill Gates Calls For Global Pandemic Response Team In Op-Ed

In the same month that the World Health Organization called the coronavirus a pandemic three years ago, billionaire Bill Gates reiterated his call for a "fire department for pandemics."

Business News

New Mexico Is Hiring Professional Bear Huggers -- Here's How to Land the Dream Job

The American Black Bear was selected as the state's official animal on February 8, 1963, by the New Mexico Legislature.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.


Pros And Cons Of Leadership Coaching: Is It Right For You Or Your Company?

Leadership coaching can work really well in some cases and not so well in others. It all depends on a few factors and if your company is ready to make the leap.