"Know everything about the companies and people you are going to be negotiating with. Insist on getting the names of everyone participating in the negotiations. Leave no stone unturned; find out as much as you can."
--- Kevin O'Leary
Some say negotiating is both art and a skill that anyone can learn. Others say that you have to be born with a natural talent to negotiate. The reality is that almost everyone, everyday, is negotiating something. Whether it is negotiating with your children or negotiating an onramp to the interstate, we all negotiate. It is simply not only a part of business, but a part of life.
In business, negotiating skills can help to catapult sales and increase your customer base. Negotiating can also help you to win great employees and get great deals from vendors. It pays to negotiate, but unfortunately, many business leaders would rather settle for what is offered than negotiate better terms. They would rather sit comfortably in the water than make any waves.
"I'd like to add that negotiating is not something to be avoided or feared - it's an everyday part of life."
--- Leigh Steinberg
Learning to negotiate well can be beneficial to you personally as well as profitable for your business. According to the many experts on negotiating, including Roger Fisher, author of Getting to Yes, and Roger Dawson, author of Secrets of Power Negotiating, negotiating begins with preparation and ends with closing the deal.
"It's tough to negotiate from a position of weakness."
--- Robert Kiyosaki
In negotiations, whether it is convincing a client why you are the only sign professional that they need or negotiating pricing with a vendor, the first step is to get prepared. Find out all you can about the other party. Find out what they like and dislike, how they typically negotiate, what is their bottom line, and how much wiggle room they typically give. It may not be possible to gather all the information that you need, but the more you attempt, the more that you are likely to uncover. Being prepared gives you confidence and an edge in the process.
"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."
--- John F. Kennedy
The next step is to devise a plan and strategy. Preparing a good plan helps to give direction and keeps you on track of the your ultimate goal. A good strategy will take you to where you want to go. One aspect of the strategy is to ask for what it is that you want. As long as it is not a ridiculous request, asking for what you want is simply good negotiating. It lets the other party know where you stand and what you expect as your desired outcome. It doesn't mean that you will always get what you want, but it at least sheds light on the negotiation and brings things out in the open.
Going into the negotiation with a strategy means that you are prepared (step one), and that you are serious about reaching an agreement. But remember, your wishes are only one side of the negotiation process. You must also discover what the other party wants and then do all you can to see that they get their end of the deal too.
"You do not get what you want. You get what you negotiate."
--- Harvey Mackay
One of the most effective parts of good communication is listening. In negotiations, listening more than talking can pay big dividends. Listen to what the other party wants out of the negotiation and really think about it. In fact, some experts suggest that if you focus on trying to figure out a way the other party can get what they want, you end up getting what you want and then some.
Pick up some good negotiating books today and spend three days per month focusing on your negotiating skills. Seek to become an expert negotiator and watch how when you strive to give others what they want, you ultimately get more than you desired.
Content Neutrality and Signs: The Reed v. Gilbert Decision and the Aftermath
By Wade Swormstedt
On June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) unanimously agreed that a Gilbert, Arizona sign code violated the First Amendment freedom of speech rights of Rev. Clyde Reed and his Good News Community Church.
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Posted on the snack bar of a hospital in Prince Georges County, Maryland:
"Hospital Policy is to refuse service to hospital patients"
Sign in downtown Detroit on the Fisher building door:
"Caution: Automatic Door (push to operate)"
As seen on the back of a delivery truck in Wyoming:
"In case of nuclear attack, the ban on school prayer will be lifted."
We need those funny signs you have seen in your travels, come on, we know they are out there. Send them to us at: email@example.com.