Negotiating: Know when you’ve reached the finish line

Negotiating is a skill most business people use every day. However, few of us have any formal training in negotiating skills and just do our best based on experience and emulating practices of others we deem successful at the process. One of the interesting things I observe with many business transactions is how people ask for less than they really want because they fear they are asking “too much”. Then, when they get what they want, they want to ask to “up the ante”. There is a sort of buyer’s remorse, wondering “if I got that, could I have gotten more? I really wanted more, but was afraid to ask.”

When negotiating, you need to remember to stop negotiating when you get what you ask for. Resist the temptation to ask for something more. More often than not, you’ll kill the deal.

To prevent (seller’s) buyer’s remorse, do your homework and be prepared for the negotiating. Know what you absolutely need and what your walk away point is. Ask for everything you want. Don’t try to ask for things in stages, ask for it all at the outset. Don’t get one thing, then ask for the next. No one wants to shoot at a moving target.

Stalling negotiations to “think about it” can also cause the deal to lose momentum. Your adversary will also re-evaluate his position, potentially walking away from the table. To be a good advocate, you need to be clear about your position at the outset and be prepared to explain why an issue is a deal breaker for you. Understanding your position may be key to persuading your adversary to move his position and give you what you want.

What other deal killer practices should be avoided? What makes you walk away from the table when you are negotiating a deal?