Welcome to 2020! It’s Scotwork’s 20th anniversary here in North America. While Scotwork has been a global presence for 45 years, we launched operations here in the US/Canada in 2000. During that time, our skilled negotiators and consultants have helped thousands of dealmakers to not only improve their deals, but also strengthen relationships and create more value for all involved. As such, we want to start off your year of dealmaking right, with 5 things you need to do to make every deal better.
#1 - Prepare!
Benjamin Franklin (and countless other smart people) said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Nowhere is this adage more applicable than at the negotiating table. Not to sound trite or obvious, but the reality is that most dealmakers don’t take time to prepare. Instead, they prefer to “wing it.” Typically, that’s because they’re either overly confident in their abilities or they just don’t know how to prepare. Regardless of the reason, skilled negotiators love the unprepared; their sheer unpreparedness affords skilled negotiators endless opportunities to extract value.
#2 - Check your ego at the door
Ego can derail a negotiation. When our egos come into play, a negotiation becomes all about ourselves. We tend to forget about the other party and focus solely on our importance and needs. During these times, we actually become more susceptible to falsehoods and truth-distortion as we twist reality to suit our ego-driven fantasies. In other words, we start to believe our own BS. If you’re caught up in your ego, prepare to be exploited by a skilled negotiator.
#3 - Keep your emotions under control
I’m not an advocate for being emotionless at the negotiating table. In fact, I believe it’s nearly impossible to be emotionless — and that’s OK. What’s more important is controlling your emotions and not letting them get the best of you. Skilled negotiators sense when emotion is taking hold, and they find ways to get it back under control, such as taking a break, changing topics, or asking questions.
#4 - Rely on “yes” more than “no”
I’ve never won an argument or negotiation by saying “no.” All negotiated deals will end with someone saying “yes,” so why not start there? It’s very tempting to tell the other party “no” when you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do. However, saying “no” rarely ends the conversation or solves the problem. In fact, it usually creates new problems. The next time you’re asked to give something you weren’t prepared to give, stop and think about how you can respond affirmatively. Skilled negotiators look for ways to give, create value, and keep conversations moving forward. They create possibilities. All of that begins with “yes.”
#5 - Don’t go alone
Sometimes we have no choice but to engage in negotiations by ourselves. Then again, sometimes we choose to negotiate alone because our ego tells us that we’re skilled enough to do so (see tip #2 above). When we’re alone, we’re susceptible to mistakes via our blind spots and other shortcomings. Having help is not a sign of weakness. In fact, skilled negotiators seek to work with a team. They’re rarely alone because they know that they’re stronger when working with those who can share the workload, bring alternative perspectives to the table, and generally fill in the gaps. They create teams that are more powerful and effective than any individual.
By keeping all of the above top of mind throughout 2020, your deals will be much better and you’ll be much happier.
And now for the shameless plug . . . The 6th tip I would give you is get help! If you don’t have a team to assist you with your deals, call us — we’ll be your team. If you’re not sure how to prepare for an upcoming negotiation, call us — we’ll get you ready. If your ego is telling you that you’re amazing at this, call us — we’ll ensure that you really are amazing at negotiating. If you just want to create better deals in 2020, call us — we’ll make it happen it for you.
For 45 years, we’ve proudly transformed the way our clients negotiate by giving them the counsel, tools, and skills required to create more valuable deals. Call us and let’s discuss what we might be able to do for you.