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Learn to Negotiate Hard—

for Everything, Everyday






   Almost every day, we are faced with some type of negotiation. Not only must we negotiate for our salary, perks, and benefits, but also daily issues involving our title, duties, and support staff.  If we fail to frame these as negotiations that are critical to our future success, we will (in all probability) fail to win them. Failing to bargain hard and smart can result in your not being given the resources or authority to allow her to succeed—and in being passed over for plum assignments, where you’ll gain visibility and recognition. As time goes by, failing to bargain hard can send your career on a downward trajectory. 
  • Get tough. The liquor lobby “tagged” the author's wine industry bill—so that it couldn’t be considered by the legislature and voted on, which was tantamount to killing it. In retaliation, my team of legislators tagged and killed the redistricting of Dallas. Tempers got heated, and the Leader of the Texas House put in a call for me to come negotiate a truce. Ultimately, we brought the liquor lobby to the table. In negotiating the wine bill with liquor lobbyist Butch Sparks, I carefully asked for more of everything than I wanted, so I could appear to give in on these items and back down to what I really wanted. The passage of the Farm Winery Act was my victory—and it marked a milestone and a new industry.
  • Give an “as-if” performance.  Take what your adversary says and act “as if” it’s a done deal. Condoleezza Rice, at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in February, 2005 between Arab and Israeli leaders, met with all the participants individually. An Israeli official notes that in private negotiating sessions, Rice has a clever way of pushing hard on an issue, even if only to elicit a vague agreement. But then she immediately doubles down. "She'll restate it in a firmer way," says this official, "and then pocket it as a commitment."
  • Pin down your adversary’s true interest.  In negotiating the sale of ranch land, the author slearned the potential buyer really wanted an unspoiled preserve for game.  We met for lunch, and I announced I was talking to an oil company from Laredo who wished to set up a hunting lodge for dozens of employees with a full-time cook so they could engage in non-stop hunting.  This, of course, would have decimated the game, not only on my land, but on the adjacent land he’d already bought.  I named my price—and we closed the deal over lunch.
  • Paint a rosy scenario in which, if your adversary gives you what you want, his or the company’s benefits will far outweigh your cost. Charismatic, charming, and (as her Lucent colleagues noted “wickedly smart”), Carly Fiorina used her well-honed communication skills to impress the HP recruiting committee, to conjure up a vision of “The Communication Revolution” and HP's rightful place at the center of it; to get her salary bumped from $350,000 to $1 million in base pay, $65 million in stock, $36,000 in mortgage assistance, and $187,000 in moving expenses.
  • Be bold and firm. Executive Gayle Crowell, who became a rock star in the software industry, walked into her boss’s office at RightPoint, closed the door, and said: “Look, you’re going to have a very uncomfortable 15 minutes.  But when I walk out of here, I’m going to have the salary I want and you’re going to be comfortable again.”  And she got what she wanted—and served her company fabulously.
  • Understand when it’s better NOT to make the deal. When Oprah Winfrey went to negotiate a new contract, she decided to “bet on herself,” instead of working for others. That led to the launch of Harpo Productions, Inc. and the talk-show queen’s eventual rise to media mogul and billionaire.

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