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The Craziest Demands Ever! (Part 2)

Published: Nov 18 , 2019
Author: Brian Buck

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I shared some pretty crazy contractual demands made by celebrities. My favorites included Will Ferrell’s rainbow on wheels, Beyoncé’s baked chicken, and Foo Fighters’ coloring book. In this post, we’ll talk about how to deal with crazy demands. For instance, what would you do if you were the concert promoter faced with such demands? Here are some thoughts geared toward these types of situations.

When we’re faced with unrealistic demands, there’s tremendous temptation to immediately say “no.” But rarely does that make the problem go away. Did “no” stop you when you asked your parents for something? No. And it doesn’t stop us now, as adults. Even though “no” may be an appropriate response, before giving that response try the following . . .

Ask “why?” Behind every request is a need. As a skilled negotiator, your job is to discover the motivation behind the request. You may have to approach this from different angles, as asking “why?” may produce a terse response, like “because!” With lots of curiosity and without judgement, explore why they have this need: “Suppose I can give you that. What would that do for you (and me)?” “If I can’t get that for you, what would happen?” Get creative with your questions.

Find out what’s most important. Oftentimes demands come in the form of lists, like hospitality riders or line items in a contract. At the very least, there are usually other variables in addition to the crazy demands. Find out which of the demands are most important. If possible, have them rank their demands. By knowing what’s important, you can potentially trade away things of lesser importance for things of greater importance.

Explore how you can say “yes.” While you may be tempted to say “no,” spend a little time trying to figure out how you can say “yes.” By this I mean, what else would you need from them in order for you to give in to their crazy demand? You might ask for something that’s equally crazy, or it could simply be something that makes giving them what they demand worthwhile to you. 

Manage the precedent. Whether you give in to their demands or not, be aware of the precedent you’re setting for the future. Consider putting limits on the demands. You can make them time-bound or limited to the current contract. Otherwise you run the risk of having to meet those crazy demands again in the future.

Unrealistic demands happen. When you’re faced with them, fight the temptation to say “no” and see how you can turn their demand into something of value for you. 


Dealing with Demands.

If you find yourself having to deal with a list of ridiculous demands, let us help you to keep your sanity. Scotwork is the world’s leading negotiation consulting firm. We help our clients solve their dealmaking issues through negotiation consulting, advising, and skills development.

For over 45 years, we’ve been transforming the way our clients negotiate by giving them the tools and skills required to be more assertive, profitable, and successful, while creating deals that are, quite simply, more valuable. Call us and let’s discuss what we might be able to do for you.


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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Like many of you, I’ve watched a lot of movies, documentaries, and TV shows. I keep waiting for Netflix to notify me, “There are no more suggestions for you!” Recently, I went back and watched the Godfather series. The line, “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” always piques my interest. We later learn that the offer was more of a threat than a credible proposal. Then again, there probably wasn’t much of a negotiation either. However, it got me to thinking about the other kinds of proposals we receive that tend to stifle negotiations.

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