Every person has their price – but who will be paying?

I am not of course insinuating with my aphorism that a person is corrupt and that a brown envelope slipped across the table will persuade them to change their mind or perform a hitherto impossible task for me. Doubtless there are still far too many failed states across the globe where guessing the correct “price” of an official is a hybrid of a national sport and a dark art, but either way is de rigeur to transact business or have a document officially recognised.

I am referring to negotiating.

What I mean is that somewhere there is a magic switch that you need to locate that will cause your counterparty to be more flexible. It need not be a financial consideration and the “price” is not necessarily measured in pounds, shillings and pence.

Likewise the same will hold true of yourself, but do you recognise this and if so is it fixed or fluid?

A poor negotiator displays the trait that it’s all about the money and they will boast about how they screwed a buyer or a seller down to the ground to walk away with deal of the century. Really?

Such people are deluding themselves having forgotten to consider how the other side feels about what they perceive as being bullied or cheated out of their fair share. Their price has been totally ignored by the “winner” so what do you think they will do to get even, to extract their “price”?






The list is virtually endless.

You may quickly find out that you have shot yourself in the foot when a change is requested or an urgent order must be delivered by noon the following day. The supplier will finally manage to extract their hitherto missing “price” from you. They will very soon find out your “price” of not bending to their demands. They have you over a barrel.

Just think about Coronavirus or some other hitherto unimagined calamity. Who’s sitting pretty now? Who needs the favour now? It may be more than a favour – it could be a matter of financial survival.

Imagine that you had left something meaningful on the table for them at the outset. Perhaps not of great value to yourself but either worth something to them or at least a recognition that validates the other party’s concerns, at least on a human level. Your emergency order or design amendment would probably have been more forthcoming for less, or perhaps it may be forthcoming instead of not getting a look-in. Think Covid 19 once again.

Instead you are stuffed because if you do not pay their new “price” ( literally ) you cannot fulfil an order to your own client and very quickly your business relationships start to fall like dominoes as word gets out that have let somebody down or are unable to show flexibility when it matters.

As they say – “what goes around comes around”.

The unimaginable can happen, the unthinkable may come to pass. Think price of oil.

So next time you enter the room to negotiate remember that you are not the only one with skin in the game and always leave some meaningful goodwill on the table.

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