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The Luck of the Deal

Brian Buck
230320 Pot O Whatever
© Scotwork NA

It’s March 17, which can only mean one thing: happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m not Irish, but my last name is Buck. The almighty buck is green, and green is the color of the Irish. Therefore, today I have the luck of the Irish! As I considered the many Irish traditions we celebrate, I thought about what it means to be lucky during a negotiation. To help you have your “luck of the deal,” I took some of the best Irish sayings and blessings and translated them into ways you can create your own luck at the deal table.

“If you’re lucky enough to be Irish . . . you’re lucky enough!”

At the deal table, I would translate this into, “If you know where you have power . . . then you’ll be powerful enough.”

Understanding your leverage will give you a great advantage at the negotiating table. Too many negotiators sit down without fully understanding their strengths (or weaknesses), and those are the ones who leave value on the table or give things they didn’t need to give. However, those who know their power are in a better position to create not only value, but also their own luck.

“May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”

At the deal table: “May your preparation be thorough and good, so your success is of higher likelihood.”

Building on the theme of knowing things before you sit down, your struggles at the negotiating table will always be less if you prepare. Many negotiators mistake familiarity with a situation for preparation. The problem is that every negotiation is influenced by many factors, including the timing of the deal, market conditions, and people involved. Therefore, every deal should be prepared for, no matter how familiar you are with the situation.

“A friend’s eye is a good mirror.”

At the deal table: “A team supports the winning negotiator.”

Skilled and seasoned negotiators rely on others to help them succeed. While we may find ourselves negotiating on our own from time to time, only the foolish go it alone all the time. Having a sounding board, mentors, and coaches can help you see beyond your own blinders. And having a team (even if it’s just one other person) with you at the table will increase your ability to build a winning deal.

“The best way to keep loyalty in a person’s heart is to keep money in their pockets.”

At the deal table: “Winning is about building deals that everyone can support.”

If you build deals that leave the other side feeling like they lost or gave up too much, all you’ve done is given them motivation to be more aggressive and competitive at the next negotiation. Skilled negotiators recognize that the goal of a negotiation is not to take everything they can, but rather to create a deal that everyone can live with and support. This ensures that future negotiations are likely to be more collaborative and less combative.

“As the big hound is, so will the pup be.”

At the deal table: “Exhibit the behavior you want at the table.”

It’s human nature to reflect the behavior of those around us. Typically, if you’re upbeat, others will be upbeat. If you’re serious, those around you will likely be serious. The advantage of this is that you can influence the other side’s behavior just by how you behave. If you want people to be open with you, try being open with them. If you want people to share information with you, try sharing information with them. If you want people to answer your questions, try answering theirs. Be the behavior you want.

“May neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.”

At the deal table: “May dealmakers respect you, bad deals avoid you, collaborators welcome you, and future deals be good to you.”

This last one isn’t as much a tip as it is a wish for you. If you approach your negotiations with good intent, properly prepared, naturally curious, flexible in nature, and with a desire to craft a deal that all can support, then you’ll always be a lucky negotiator (and maybe even Irish at heart).

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We Can Help Your Team Be Lucky Negotiators.
Does your team know they can create their own luck at the negotiating table? If they come properly prepared, naturally curious, flexible in nature, with good intentions and a desire to craft a deal that all can support, they can have the luck of the Irish. We can help! Drawing on nearly 50 years of real-world negotiating experience, we’ll assist you with getting better deals, saving time, and creating value for all involved — not to mention preserving and even strengthening relationships. Let us partner you with one of our advisers, ensuring that you’ve got the broadest view of your deal.

Talk to one of our experts today.

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