Negotiating is a sport similar to chicken fights. Some people love the game. Chickens peck, squawk, claw, and bite each other, often until the loser dies. It’s an epic battle of strength with a definite winner and a dead loser. The outcome is strength, victory, and reputation for the winning gamecock. The outcome for the loser is injury, shame, and even death. A current cockfight that comes to my mind is the battle of the Epipens. So, a life-or-death prescription shot’s price has suddenly hiked exponentially while the CEO of the company that makes it has increased her salary by 618%… and you want me to believe that’s just business? I’ll call a gamecock when I see one.
Have you ever watched a cock fight? I’ve only seen videos, and honestly I hate watching them. Call me a girl, but there is nothing particularly enjoyable about watching a chicken getting pecked to death. The gambling side of the game is just as grotesque to me. Let’s all throw in chips, force a fight, and watch the violent death of an animal. Some people must like it, since it’s still a thing, but it’s just not my thing.
Again, maybe I’m leaning towards my femininity here, but I’m not into chicken fights. I think cockpits are ridiculous, and the idea of pecking each other to the death sounds like a stupid way to die. I realize that in most areas of life, there are winners and there are losers. Fact of life. And a fact I’m usually okay with it.
But when it comes to negotiating—two parties entering into a dialogue to obtain/achieve a desired result, I’d like to say that it’s time to end the chapter of cockfighting.
I’m just a small seller in a commodity market but here are some principles I think increase your chances of landing your deal and not wringing a chicken’s neck in the process:
Ask me on a date before gettin’ down on one knee.
Build a relationship with your buyer/seller. You don’t have to know their life story, and what they ate for supper last night, but DO know their name. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like talking about their family or what they enjoy doing outside of work hours. Chances are 5 minutes of enjoyable conversation will put you in a good position to get what you want…I’m much more relaxed and willing to compromise with a good-natured person. I don’t like terrorists or tyrants. But hey, maybe that’s just me.
Sight in your Bow before letting your arrow fly.
Know your market and your competition before you begin negotiating your deal. It’s my job to offer my product, my service, and to assess if I can help solve the problem you’re working on. If you’re talking to me, I’m assuming you want to do business with me and you’ve done your homework.
Know if your airline let’s you fly with free checked baggage.
Communicate clearly what you want and any of your expectations and I’ll do the same. Believe it or not, I like knowing what you expect before the deal. Not after. I’m in sales. I like to perform. Tell me what you want and the way you want it delivered, and I’ll make it happen. But I’m not a psychic. I have no idea what you want unless you communicate! You expect your delivery in the morning? Give me a time! You don’t want to pay for shipping? Well, are you a Prime member? You’re on the verge of losing your job, and if you can’t navigate this smoothly—you’re calling it quits? Very handy information for me to know.
It’s a long way from New York to Los Angeles.
Does it seem ironic to you that you and I have different ideas about what a fair price is? I hear this most from buyers (and usually ones who haven’t bothered to introduce themselves or their company to me) “Is that the best you can do on that price? I mean so and so is _____ lower than you.” Let me ask you this, do you walk into a five-star restaurant and ask them why their filet Mignon cost $20 dollars when you can buy a cheeseburger off the dollar menu at McDonalds? Yea, I didn’t think so either. Chances are, if the price isn’t agreeable to you, you and I misunderstand one another. I’m not out to rake you over the coals, but I don’t work at McDonalds. I’ve got to come in here every day, and somehow repeat success in a world of ever-increasing competition. I want your business today, and I want it tomorrow, so as tempting as making a quick buck is, I’m in it for the long game. I’ve got bills to pay, too.
Don’t gobblefunk around with words.
Be as good as you can on your word. What you say is the pretext of our relationship. At the end of the day, if we isolate our little dialogue to the 20 minutes we have to do business—I really don’t know if your money is good, if you will pay your bills on time, if you will be polite to my customer service department, if you’re treating your own workers fairly, or if you even give a darn about anyone else but yourself. And you don’t know any of that about me. All we have is our word. So have some integrity and mean what you say. I’ll do the same.
Don’t pour gasoline on the stairway to heaven.
Believe it or not, one day you may need a recommendation, you may need me to vouch for you, you may have an emergency I can help with or you may need a lifejacket thrown into the water—so keep all that in mind before you lose your sanity and drop a bomb on me. If you take care of me, I’ll take care of you. No need to burn bridges.
I know that most people’s buying/selling habits are as formidable as the cockfights. But let’s stop buying the gamecock. Instead let’s fry that sucker and eat some chicken together. I’d rather be doing that anyways.