You had me at “George”…

I must admit: I am a big fan of George Stroumboulopoulos. I will not fall into stalking him in any way, I just find him sharp, quick, witty and pretty smart. My years in journalism taught me many things, and although I have an immense respect for my journalistic mentor, Strombo would be another great one to have (most touching interview with June Callwood). Then I realised one of my friends I had not seen for a while had recently been busy working as one of Strombo’s bodyguards. I fell into a teenager/fan for a minute and asked him a few questions about this now-public figure, and came back to my adult-self when he declined sharing any private information he had had witnessed. Doing close protection comes with a logical thick clause of confidentiality: I get it. I already knew that knowledge is power, and it was not my intention to negotiate with my friend to get and gossip.

The scene is similar to any negotiation one I have been part of in a businessB11_-_Strombo situation. It is all about power: how and when to use it. By his tone, his body language and his behaviour, I knew he would not give in. To be fair, why would he give anything knowing he would not get anything in return (beside the fact that he was under a confidentiality agreement, and it likely is an evergreen one too)? A negotiation turning into a dead end is a failed negotiation. Call it trade or barter, the transaction is like a two-way street.

I could have used patience, a deadline, or impress him with some kind of authority over him (totally unjustified in that very circumstance), my attempt at portraying and using power left me hanging with my hopes of knowing more. Futile, and fun too since my friend had more to lose than I, and it was not my intention to put him in that uncomfortable position.

Negotiating a purchasing contract mirrors this scenario in many respects, except that it is everything but a game. It is not about winning or losing: it is about finding an agreement to both (or more) parties with and around acceptable compromises, whether in a domestic or business environment. Knowing what each party expects is essential as it allows more leverage and room to negotiate. It requires some deep homework to be commercially aware and ready to sit around a table. It is also a good idea to use partners with the most expertise and knowledge to take the lead around the core specifics of the negotiation, unless, of course, the decision is only driven by the price point.

Once I know who the decision maker is, I choose to discuss with that person, and set my expectations. Having learned about selling tips (and I am oh-so willing to keep learning!), it helps me being better at negotiating and feeling confident when I sign, or commit to, a contract, on behalf of a client or at a personal level.

Now George, if you read this, would you have an issue for us to connect?