Yeah, I am sure you consider yourself a great negotiator right?

 Nothing to learn right?

Well, one of my mentors fifteen years ago taught about “Getting to No” in the context of sales.

Get a no quickly to qualify a prospect. I think it equally applies in negotiation. For example:

“Will you agree to limit our obligation to repairing the service performed, deliverable or product for a year after closing?”

Or, in real estate deals, we might ask an investing partner:

“In year three, if real estate prices are way up, can you assure us that you will not force a sale until year seven?”

The “no” that follows tells you so much about where to go next if you really pay attention.

No’s” give us boundaries but also clarify how one sees the relationship.

In the first case, I might ask, for starters, how* the customer would want to handle when things change or do not work as planned?


In the real estate situation, since we know our client cannot prove out its return on cash goals if a sale is forced in year 3, we might have to re-think our assumptions.

The real question becomes how often do you practice the art of paying attention?

*how questions are my next topic of focus

How would you rate yourself as a negotiator? 

Do you believe the compliments given by your opponent?

Yesterday, a Mongolia-based consulting services client shared a common negotiation tactic in the US. The nationality of the speaker only highlights an outsider’s perspective.

At a tense point in the negotiation, the American said:

“I would never want to be on opposite sides of this issue with you,” the American said.
“Yeah why is that?” the Mongolian side asked.

“Because you just seem too fierce, I would worry that it wouldn’t end well for me,” the American said.

Americans often use the “false prop up the other side” approach to appeal to ego. Regardless of the words, it is a false compliment to gain leverage and the speaker does not believe it.

I get this often with opposing counsel who says things like “I really like you”, “you’re so smart” or worse, they call my client or me “pal.

These things ever show up in your world?

It is often said in a genuine tone but the fact that it is a negotiation tactic is surprisingly lost on many.

The Mongolian’s below response summed up how the logic of false compliments falls apart.

“You and I are negotiating a transaction to do business together. We are doing the deal because we cannot do it ourselves. If you are telling me that when the chips are down, you will turn from our business partner into our adversary then this discussion is over.”

Would you like to become a better negotiator? Let me know what types of things you negotiate? Shoot me an email –