BUSINESS + LIFE = NEGOTIATION: Part 4 – The 8 Rules of Negotiation


I would have never imagined that a simple innocuous advertisement in an in-flight magazine on an early morning flight would have created the explosion of thought and words that it has. But it seems that my new creative muse that has been with me for the last couple of weeks has alas taken us to this final phase of our renewed clarity on the power and importance of NEGOTIATION in our everyday personal and business life.

We’ve come to the conclusion of this process with these basic uncomplicated Rules of Negotiation that I believe are all that you’ll need in order to get more out of life and for your business. Yes, there are more rules and the more sophisticated you get the more complicated. But these are the everyday foundational rules that will get you going and keep you going and will always hold strong in any situation.

So here we go my friends and readers, the 8 Basic Rules of Negotiation!

RULE 1: Always know who has the authority! It’s pretty simple, do not ever and I mean ever negotiate with someone who does not have the authority to make the deal. Be sure that you’re dealing with someone who has sign-off authority! Otherwise you’re just wasting time. An old mentor once explained it this way, “NEVER TAKE A NO FROM SOMEONE WHO CAN’T SAY YES!”

RULE 2: Understand what you’re willing to give up to get what you want! Try to think the conversation through. Do as much research and diligence as you possibly can before you begin?  Know what’s the most you might pay or what might be the maximum time you might wait. Know precisely what you will and won’t do! Know precisely what it is that you want out of this coming conversation.

RULE 3: If you are asked to give something up….BOTH SIDES must give something up or it’s not a negotiation!  Everything in this process is reciprocal.  You should not be the only one giving in for a negotiation of any kind.  For instances you might say, “I’ll pay your price if you’ll deliver it free!”

RULE 4: Price ISN’T the only issue in a negotiation!  Remember it’s not always about price however; most people will give on price or ask for a better price simply because that’s what everyone does. So if price isn’t necessarily your issue, you’ll certainly take a lesser price if someone is willing to give it right? In fact, the early stage of a negotiation usually isn’t really the major issue to be negotiated. Usually if not always, there’s a greater issue that’s really the main issue and that’s why….

RULE 5: He who has the most information is always  in control!  Again do your homework. Know everything you can possibly know about what it is that you want and about who you’re negotiating with. Other than spending some focused time with selective on-line searches is to simply shut up and ask lots of questions. Our brain processes words at 500 to 600 words per minute. You can talk at a rate of 150 words per minute. So shut up and process. LISTEN! Understand your opponents needs from their point of view and then help them achieve those needs.

RULE 6: Negotiate the little things first! Always get some kind of agreement as early as possible. Some call that “Breaking the Ice”. Get something positive going by building agreement and trust and remember you might need to GIVE in order to GET!

RULE 7: BE STRONG and have nerves of steel! Once you get to that point where you have told yourself that you won’t go any further then you must have the guts to hold firm on that position. Be confident on your position and stick to it as long as you can justify it.

RULE 8: Know your exit strategy!  Never, never ever be afraid to walk away from any deal! That’s the key. You must know in advance where that point will be when you know that you can no longer achieve a deal or when the other side cannot be trusted.  Remember it’s just a game and the goal is WIN/WIN. If it’s not that kind of deal you feel you have….smile, then walk. If you can’t get the deal you want, there are other places and people who will work with you.

It’s a hard world to do business in and you’re not going to simply get handed anything in business or life. No matter how hard you work or care or try you must understand that in the end, the world owes you nothing. So in the end, the lady with the cigar really had more to say to me than just an unconnected advertising message.  She helped me expand that statement and remember that truly “In business AND life you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!”

I swear she just winked at me!

Negotiation is a major part of your business and entrepreneurial life. If you need some help and guidance, give me a call. That’s what we do at Grow Southwest and we’re open for business.  Until then as always,


Coach Dan

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