10 Things I Learned in 1,000 Negotiations

I was the losing side of most of my negotiations.

I was the losing side of most of my negotiations. Pexels

I was the losing side of most of my negotiations. But those were my best teachers so I’m grateful. I gave a talk the other day at Columbia about it.

1. “NO

Negotiations are not about deals or money or success. They are about finding your own inner value, developing confidence, and translating it to the outside.

“NO” let’s you bring a deal to reflect your own value instead of chasing after someone else’s muddy boots as they walk away.

“NO” is the bridge between the final deal and the authentic YOU.

The power of no saved my life.

2. THE LONG LIST

It’s not just about money. Think of every aspect in a situation. Everything you would like. Then you can give up the nickels for the dimes if your list is longer.

For instance, one side might just be negotiating salary. But the other side could be negotiating salary, title, insurance, vacation, promotion standards, outside work, etc. The longer list always wins.

3. INFINITE PATIENCE YIELDS IMMEDIATE RESULTS

Don’t respond right away. Think. Sleep. Take a deep breath. Talk to others. Then respond.

My best negotiation was the time I wanted to respond right away. I begged my business partner to call back, “YES!”

He said, “ease up cowboy. I want to think about this.” And think he did. For four days before responding.

Then he had terms. He said we had other options. He waited some more when they responded. They agreed to all his terms.

4. READY. FIRE. AIM.

Trust me on this. You may not have what you offer. But once you have an agreement, the agreement itself has value and you can use it to get what you offer.

Example: I will buy your laundromat for $1,000,000. If they say “Yes” and you sign a deal to pay them $1,000,000 in 90 days now you have a real asset: the signed deal. Use that signed deal to raise the million.

5. ASK FOR ADVICE

Say: you are the experts. ..what would you ask for if you were me?

Get then to negotiate against themselves.

This is not just flattery but probably truth. I find in most negotiations I am in, the other side knows more than I know.

6. THE FORMULA

Before you value something, don’t make up a number and pray they agree. Come up with a formula for valuing what you have and make sure you understand the variables better than they do.

Example: Don’t value yourself based on your past salary, or what other people are making. Value yourself on a formula for the value you bring to the other side.

7. EVERYTHING IS A NEGOTIATION

Example. When you are hired you negotiate salary. AND when you are fired it is ALSO a negotiation.

Say “no” because even when you get fired there are many things to negotiate. And they are more eager then than when they hired you.

8. DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN’T SAY YES.

9. DON’T DO CHILD’S NEGOTIATION

“If I say 50, I know they will say 30 and we will end up at 40.”

That is amateur hour. Even in a car dealership they know they have you when you try this (they have the longer list).

Nobody ever meets in the middle.

10. EVIL PLAN

Always know your secret agenda.

Example. Sure when you sell a book idea to a publisher you want a big advance.

But your secret plan might be to make a lot more on future speaking gigs.

Don’t lose sight of your real goals in favor of the short term goals.

Related Links:

What are the common mistakes people make that ruin their lives?
What one thing do you wish you had known about life when you were in your 20s?
How can you make people like you in 90 seconds or less?

James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself!, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated.

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