Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jim Camp's Top 10 Deal Killers

Publicist Cathy Lewis just sent out this neat short list of deal killers based on negotiation coach Jim Camp's excellent book, No: The Only Negotiating Strategy You Need for Work and Home:

1. DON'T show emotions, such as neediness, desperation, or excitement. Keep your body language and style of speaking emotionally neutral. Prepare your state of mind ahead of time. Repeat the mantra, "I don't need this, I don't need this," until you believe it.
2. DON'T offer a compromise or reveal your position at the start. Once you do this, you are signaling to your opponent that you are ready to give something up in order to get to an agreement, before you're even certain you have to!
3. DON'T give presentations or dominate the dialogue. A presentation is designed to tell the opponent what you think she wants to know. (You might be dead wrong!) While you are presenting, she is forming opinions, making judgments, and gaining valuable insight into you and your position. To maintain the advantage, you should do almost no talking, and ask question after question that gets your opponent to spill the beans instead.
4. DON'T waste your time dealing with "blockers." Blockers are people who will do anything to keep you from meeting with the real leader or decision maker face-to-face. (That may even be their job.) Be diplomatic when sidestepping blockers so you can speak with the person best able to deliver what you want.
5. DON'T think about closing. Despite everything you learned in business school, thinking about, hoping for, or planning for the outcome of this deal will kill you every time at the negotiating table. Your opponent will sense your neediness, perceive it as a weakness, and like spotting a lame animal in the herd, move in for the kill.
6. DON'T try to impress. Name-dropping, sucking up, dressing to the nines, and overstating your qualifications are common ways you might try to pump yourself up in front of an opponent. Such tactics have the opposite effect. Instead, make sure your opponent feels "more okay" than you, maybe even a bit superior. An opponent who does not feel threatened in any way is more likely to give up the goods.
7. DON'T try to be friends. The person sitting across the negotiating table from you is a respected opponent. Thinking about a long-term relationship or dwelling on whether or not she likes you is certain to cloud your decisions, disrupt your emotional neutrality, and keep you from being in the present moment, where you should be focusing, observing, and collecting information.
8. DON'T show up unprepared. Whether it's a phone call, an email exchange, or a face-to-face meeting, never communicate with your opponent without doing extensive research and preparation first. Find out everything there is to know about him, positions he's taken on similar deals, personal history, problems he and his company have and ways you might be able to solve them, and anything else, even if it seems irrelevant.
9. DON'T make assumptions. The quickest way to achieve failure is by forming opinions and making judgments and assumptions about your opponent. If there's anything about the way your opponent looks or behaves that makes you jump to a conclusion, that's a red flag. Banish the thought from your mind. The way to find out whom you are really dealing with is to ask lots of questions. Get her talking, revealing her biases, opinions, wants, needs, and weaknesses. Take copious notes while she talks.
10. DON'T focus on what you want. In any successful negotiation, set your mission and purpose in the adversary's world, not in your own. This is a sure-fire way to win the best result for your side. Focus on how you can help him or her realize that offering XYZ to you will be beneficial to him.