Negotiations 101

Are you ready to negotiate?

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When it comes down to the bottom-line of making deals, possessing great talent, dedication, education, and an enduring work ethic can only take you so far. The most powerful people in society have the ability to negotiate at the highest level. Striking deals and getting to ‘yes’ is second nature to them. It seems they were born to influence others to their way of thinking.

High-level negotiators do not see the grind of the negotiation. They see the art of the deal. They see the opportunity to be creative in the midst of a strategy. They know how to embrace and resolve problems, read people from across the table, switch up their own demeanor to generate a desired response, win concessions with data, and walk away for effect. They treasure the thrill of a friendly handshake knowing the other side didn’t have a chance.

 

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy 

 

Transaction success is not about doing deals, it is about working deals. Doing is a passive action of processing paperwork that almost always leaves good money on the table. Working a deal means digging in for a good fight that demands your total attention to maximize value. From today forward, I want you to approach every deal with a full commitment to create a comprehensive plan, one that constantly looks for leverage and strategy to satisfy your needs and get the deal done—the way you want.

 

Predictability

Typically, during a negotiation, I can evaluate the likely outcome before most anyone else at the table just by using predictability modeling. I turn the facts, players, and driving forces into a mathematical equation that spits out the likelihood of our success for each opportunity. John Nash describes this concept as ‘cooperative games’ or ‘gaming theory’.1 Nash suggests developing a strategy that, given the driving forces of the parties involved, asks:

“What reasonable condition would be needed to be agreed upon?”

He shows that, once the needs of the parties were established and if they remain constant, then he could successfully narrow down the number of potential outcomes. These driving forces reflect how much the transaction is worth to each party.

1. McMillan, John. Games, Strategies, and Managers. Reprint. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Predicting the future may sound like magic. However, we all know that most magic tricks are rooted in actual physics. There is no magic here; just an evaluation of needs and applied mathematics to identify the possible outcomes. It takes analysis and deep thought over the best scenarios for each party’s interest  to become apparent. If you find the likely outcome acceptable to the company objectives, then paved road is in front of you. The deal you desire is steps away with consistent and predictable execution. If it is not acceptable, then  make the decision to modify the comparison criteria, or don’t waste any more time and instead move on to a  better alternative which has a higher success factor and  will provide better economic flexibility and physical functionality.

Forrest Blake
Commercial Real Estate Negotiator
1-310-850-2381
fblake1000@gmail.com

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