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The Craziest Demands Ever! (Part 2)

Brian Buck
© Scotwork NA

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.


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