When I left UBS 8 years ago, my boss gave me a book on negotiation called Getting to Yes. It’s a must-read, but if I may highlight the most effective tactic: focus on interests, not positions. It works like a charm because if you’re always taking a firm position, you’ll lose most of the time. Instead you need to find a way make everyone happy.
It took forever to sink in. In fact, writing that last paragraph with no hesitation makes me think I’ve actually learned something (after all these years Greg!). But learning never stops, especially when it comes to negotiating—because you’re always adapting your formula for hardliners or pushovers. That’s why I enjoyed these 5 negotiating No-No’s from Inc. magazine so much. I especially like the “Fuck You” technique, which I’m excerpting below because, as much as we wish we wish we could turn that phrase into money like Cee-Lo, we just can’t. But read this to understand who’s on the other side of your negotiating table.
5. “Fuck you.” The savviest negotiators take nothing personally; they are impervious to criticism and impossible to fluster. And because they seem unmoved by the whole situation and unimpressed with the stakes involved, they have a way of unnerving less-experienced counterparts. This can be an effective weapon when used against entrepreneurs, because entrepreneurs tend to take every aspect of their businesses very personally. Entrepreneurs often style themselves as frank, no-nonsense individuals, and they can at times have thin skin. But whenever you negotiate, remember that it pays to stay calm, to never show that a absurdly low counter-offer or an annoying stalling tactic has upset you. Use your equanimity to unnerve the person who is negotiating with you. And if he or she becomes angry or peeved, don’t take the bait to strike back. Just take heart: You’ve grabbed the emotional advantage in the situation. Now go close that deal.