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Think Like a Negotiator

Knowing how to negotiate is always important, especially when cash is tight.

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This story appears in the May 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When celebrity hairstylist and beauty expert Billy Lowe, 38, decided to relocate his six-figure from , Calif., to West Hollywood, he took advantage of the downturn in the to negotiate a deal with his new landlord. For bargaining power, Lowe stressed the benefits of his occupancy: He already had a loyal following of high-caliber clients; he would give the building a clean, polished, updated look; and the landlord would incur costs if the building sat vacant for too long. The landlord was convinced and agreed to both a reduction in rent by about $400 per month and a three-year lease at a fixed price.

Meanwhile, Ken Wisnefski, 37, founder of WebiMax.com, a provider of online lead generation services in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, managed to secure a better advertising deal. By committing to a longer-term advertising contract, he cut his ad costs in half. He projects 2009 sales to exceed $1 million.

Knowing how to negotiate is always important, but when cash is tight and sales are down, this skill alone can make a huge difference. In fact, Jim Camp, a negotiations coach and author of Start With No: The Negotiating Tools That the Pros Don't Want You to Know, estimates that 90 percent of an entrepreneur's failure is due not to poor business planning, but rather a failure to negotiate properly. So how do you seal a better deal? Camp offers the following tips:

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