Everything is Negotiable in Business

Yes I mean everything.

Embracing this mindset is the first, and most critical, step in becoming a master negotiator.

Disgusted? Intrigued?

Are you fingers just itching to comment?

Read on so you can set me straight or declare your newfound mindset.

Have Morals? Good, so do I.

You’re probably thinking, ok Nicole. I have ethics and morals. Everything in business is NOT negotiable for me. Good. I mean that. I wish everyone would stand firm on their morals.

So was I just link-baiting? Absolutely not.

It’s extremely important to make a distinction between the act of negotiation and arriving at a mutually acceptable agreement.

Let’s look at a real life example.

You’re on vacation in Mexico and a stranger approaches you, asking you to bring back a package that is clearly illegal drugs. You say no. They may even offer money. You still say no. Finally they give up and move on to the next gringo. You just ended an unsuccessful negotiation.

We all have a list of so-called non-negotiables. I use the term as well. What we are really saying is that if the other party cannot accept our stance or terms on a certain issue, the negotiation will not end successfully.

The Epiphany

While I’ve used this mindset extensively in the corporate world, as well as an entrepreneur, the basic lessons were learned in my daily life as an ex-pat in Asia.

Shortly after moving to Asia for work, I was faced with the reality of negotiating in all sorts of day to day activities. I clearly remember one blistering day I just wanted to buy a bottle of water. I was hot, cranky, and darn it I just wanted a bottle of water, and I wanted it now.

Then something clicked. I had an epiphany (or at least a mild heat stroke). I realized they weren’t out to get me. Negotiation is simply a way of life for them.

Instead of viewing it as gouge the foreigner, I thought of it as real time price correction. Arbitrage in the wild. We do it all time, it’s just camouflaged in terms like, “market research” or “optimal price.”

It’s a game. Like playing The Price is Right on the sidewalk. I started cracking jokes with the vendors and entering into the light hearted spirit of the exchange. The water was mine, at the best price I’d ever negotiated.

Yeah But

You are thinking, “Yeah but that was in Asia”.

Not so fast! By the time I moved back the U.S. this new outlook was firmly entrenched in my psyche. I simply continued using the techniques acquired while living abroad.

To the amazement of my friends and family, it worked!

Clearly a bottle of water in a gas station on a hot day – no. However I have gotten free coffee at gas stations. I’ve gotten items discounted at major retail stores. I successfully sold a piece of land for 14% MORE than the original offer. I’ve altered so-called standard contracts with service providers. The list goes on and on.

This works everywhere.

Getting the Mindset

There are two keys to achieving this mindset.

1. You must embrace the mantra, “Everything IS negotiable.”

2. Accept that you may not reach an agreement. Many negotiations will not be successful.

In some ways number two becomes more important than number one. If you enter into every negotiation with the thought you must be successful you are going to be miserable.

Have fun with it. Treat the negotiation like a game. Most importantly be respectful.

Final Thoughts

Are you convinced? Is everything negotiable in business? How you do see negotiation in the day to day running of your business?


Nicole Fende is President of the Small Business Finance Forum>, and the driving force behind Rock Your Profits 2011 . Ms. Fende is a credentials actuary with experience as a former Chief Financial Officer, Investment Banker, and successful entrepreneur. She is the host of SmallBizFinance on BlogTalkRadio, with a listenership of 5,000 and growing. Her forthcoming book, How to be a Finance Rock Star, is an easy, practical guide to mastering small business finance.

One Trackback

  1. […] Negotiate Payment Terms What if a payments for a product or use we need could be widespread out? Perhaps a distinction pity arrangement could be done in place of creation an adult front payment. As we plead in a guest post for Dr. Shannon Reece, we resolutely trust that Everything is Negotiable. […]

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: