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Words Matter

Published: Oct 08 , 2018
Author: Brian Buck

The restaurant was pristine and ready for guests but when the doors opened no one came. It sat empty. Even with the occasional culinary curious patron it was clear that there was something amiss with Chef Vincent Chirico’s latest restaurant venture, “Raw”. Within a few weeks of opening, Chef Vincent did something extremely drastic to try to save his restaurant…

He changed the name. Within 3 weeks of opening he invested $20,000 to have the name “Raw” wiped clean from his restaurant and replaced with “Coarse”.

According to a Wall Street Journal interview, Chef Chirico said the name “Raw” had customers assuming his restaurant specialized in raw food, and emphasized non-cooked fare. But the restaurant serves plenty of cooked dishes.

“I realized very quickly this name could be suicidal,” said Chef Chirico. He said he had originally used the name “Raw” to signal a less-is-more concept—the restaurant has simple décor and its cooks double as waiters.

The name changed worked. Over 2 years later Coarse is thriving with hundreds of positive reviews on Yelp giving Coarse 4.5+ stars. This may not have been possible under the old name.

The same awareness needs to exist at the negotiation table - words matter. After watching and advising on hundreds of negotiations, I can’t tell you how many negotiations are derailed or stalled by the wrong choice of words.

As an example, I was advising a client who was trying to get a discount from a supplier. The supplier said that as policy they don’t give discounts. This became a real point of contention for my client because my client needed to show a cost savings to meet internal objectives. After a few rounds of arguing, we decided to change our language from “discounts” to “cost savings” and that changed the course of conversation to discuss “incentives”.

In the end, a deal was struck had “incentives”, not “discounts” which gave my client the cost savings they needed and it allowed the supplier to maintain its corporate policy of not discounting. It all came down to word choice.

My advice to you? (If you’re in NY, go enjoy a meal at Coarse!) Pay attention to the words and specificity of the language being used in your negotiation, it may be the difference between getting a deal or not.


Pay Attention!

Let’s not mix words here… negotiations can take a lot longer than they need to or even stall for a variety of reasons. The worst part is - they don’t need to! You can get to deals faster, if you are a skilled negotiator. You can create more valuable deals, if you are skilled negotiator. You can strengthen the relationships with those you are negotiating with, if you are skilled negotiator.

So either become a skilled negotiator or bring one of our skilled negotiators in to negotiate for you. We’ve been consulting and teaching our proven negotiation methodology for over 40 years. We know the process, we can identify the skills required, and we have the techniques to negotiate better deals for you. Plain and simple.

Talk to one of our experts today.



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About the author:

Brian Buck
Sure, we could whip up a snappy bio about Brian’s experience as an entrepreneur, business owner, and Fortune 500 executive. While we’re at it, we could go on for an afternoon about his 20 years in marketing and advertising, developing brilliant consumer-engagement strategies for the likes of Google, Amazon, Samsung, Virgin Mobile, Microsoft, and Sony. But knowing Brian, he’d rather we not. Instead, he’d likely ask us to focus on something else — namely, other people ...

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More posts by Brian Buck

Latest Blog:

Jumping the Shark

My client was sharing with me a negotiation he was involved in that was, as he put it, “jump the shark” worthy. He was very enthusiastic about it. In fact, he was hopeful that it was going to lead to more opportunities for him. He said his client thought the negotiation was “jump the shark” worthy too. As I listened to his positivity and enthusiasm, I started to realize that his definition of “jump the shark” is very different from mine. Quoting Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, I told him, “I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means.” A panicked expression came across his face as he realized what it meant for his negotiation, and he quickly transitioned into techniques for avoiding the sharks altogether.

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