Do you know this key to negotiation? The key that will open the door to a done deal, a deal that delivers on your wants?
I’ll tell you, but you have to promise not to tell anyone else. Just kidding.
Here is it: Make sure that the other party gets what it wants.
No, I’m not telling you that if, for example, the seller puts a $3 million asking price on the home that you should just wire him the funds. Or, that you should sign the contract that your employer puts in front of you.
What I mean is that you’ll cut right through to the heart of the deal by focusing on and figuring out how to deliver what the other party actually wants. I’ve put actually in italics to highlight it, to stress that what the other party actually wants is usually not what he initially says he wants.
The trick, of course, is finding out what the other party wants. That takes practice, experience and intuition.
You’ve identified the Jones Medical Group as a potential acquisition target. Its owner, Jennifer Jones, says she wants $X. Does she really? Is it the purchase price that is driving the deal or is it that she simply wants to shift some of the risk to you? Does she want the “safety” of a salary (no salary is ever safe, just safe to a certain point)? Does she want to escape the obligation to manage?
The fact is that once you discover what Jennifer really wants, it might be perfectly fine to deliver what she wants – it may be no skin off your back at all.
But if all you thought was at issue was the purchase price, you might never be able to make a deal, or the best deal.