How to Negotiate in the Real World

I hope you have had a successful and satisfying second week of the year filled with achievements, challenges overcome and most importantly good times! This 2017 is already kicked in full-speed ahead and it is a good checkpoint to make sure you are sticking with your new years' resolutions and focused on what progress you plan to make this year. If not, take this as a friendly accountability reminder. On to the meat and potatoes, I think you will find value in today's blog. This topic overlaps every segment of our society - it is the notion of whether or not people make decisions based on logic or emotion. SHOCKER: most people make decisions based subconsciously on emotion and a hierarchy of needs - read: politics, consumer behavior, etc. 

I am currently reading a fascinating book called "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It" by Chris Voss. The author is a former FBI high-stakes negotiator with experience negotiating some of the most intense hostage situations you can ever imagine. He talks about times negotiating with terrorists holding American hostages and some examples of intense bank robberies in NYC where he negotiated directly with the criminals to save lives and bring the criminals to justice. Those stakes, with literally lives depending on the successful outcome, were much higher than business negotiations or certainly negotiations that we engage in every day in our personal lives. However, the principals should be applied to our every day dealings in business and life. 

Many students of negotiation may recall the world-renowned Harvard Negotiation Project's findings in the publication "Getting to Yes." I certainly have been a proponent and have applied these principals to my business for a long period of time. Without delving into each and every detail, the findings essentially encourage negotiators to focus on the content of the negotiation and to separate facts from emotion to achieve shared goals between counterparts. The premise of Chris Voss' argument, to the contrary, is that people act on emotion above all else. We can prepare the most impressive logical argument, structure the most comprehensive presentation on what the facts of the deal are and how potential solutions affect all parties, but if we are not paying attention to how emotionally (perhaps subconsciously) the negotiation is perceived by our counterpart, we will lose.

There are countless techniques for giving counterparts the emotional control they seek to achieve the sometime elusive and ultimate agreement. In the interest of brevity, the satisfaction of needs goes back to the theory of "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs," which you may have studied at some point in your college psychology class. It is most important to consider how a certain negotiation and the potential outcome relates to the other party's hierarchy of needs, even in a high-impact business negotiation or a low-stakes back and forth with your children, other family members or even the clerk at your local supermarket. 

Next time you are entering into a negotiation, keep in mind that your adversary has various needs to satisfy which are essential to gain solid footing. Negotiation can be very uncertain, but if you would like to discuss further how my understanding of this complex topic can benefit your real estate investments, please don't hesitate to reach out. If you find value in my blog, please share with your friends and colleagues.