You Can Negotiate Anything
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You Can Negotiate Anything

The Groundbreaking Original Guide to Negotiation

Herb Cohen

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eBook - ePub

You Can Negotiate Anything

The Groundbreaking Original Guide to Negotiation

Herb Cohen

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About This Book

Over one million copies sold and nine months on the New York Times bestseller list! For readers of the bestsellers Atomic Habits and Never Split the Difference — this bestselling classic will teach you to hone your intuition to effectively communicate and negotiate...making sure you win every time. These groundbreaking methods will yield remarkable results! YES, YOU CAN WIN! Master negotiator Herb Cohen has been successfully negotiating everything from insurance claims to hostage releases to his own son's hair length and hundreds of other matters for over five decades. Ever since coining the term "win-win" in 1963, he has been teaching people the world over how to get what they want in any situation. In clear, accessible steps, he reveals how anyone can use the three crucial variables of Power, Time, and Information to always reach a win-win negotiation. No matter who you're dealing with, Cohen shows how every encounter is a negotiation that matters. With the tools and skill sets he has devised, honed, and perfected over countless negotiations, the power of getting what you deserve is now a practical necessity you can fully master. "Flawlessly organized."
— Kirkus Reviews

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Publisher
Citadel Press
Year
2019
ISBN
9780806540368
PART ONE
YES, YOU CAN
To get to the Promised Land you have to
negotiate your way through the wilderness.
1. What is negotiation?
Your real world is a giant negotiating table, and like it or not, you’re a participant. You, as an individual, come into conflict with others: family members, sales clerks, competitors, or entities with impressive names like “the Establishment” or “the power structure.” How you handle these encounters can determine not only whether you prosper, but whether you can enjoy a full, pleasurable, satisfying life.
Negotiation is a field of knowledge and endeavor that focuses on gaining the favor of people from whom we want things. It’s as simple as that.
What do we want?
We want all sorts of things: prestige, freedom, money, justice, status, love, security, and recognition. Some of us know better than others how to get what we want. You are about to become one of these.
Traditionally, rewards presumably go to those possessing the greatest talent, dedication, and education. But life has disillusioned those who hold that virtue and hard work will triumph in the end. The “winners” seem to be people who not only are competent, but also have the ability to “negotiate” their way to get what they want.
What is negotiation? It is the use of information and power to affect behavior within a “web of tension.” If you think about this broad definition, you’ll realize that you do, in fact, negotiate all the time both on your job and in your personal life.
With whom do you use information and power to affect behavior off the job? Husbands negotiate with wives, and wives with husbands. (I hope your marriage is a collaborative Win-Win negotiation.) You use information and power with your friends and relatives. Negotiations may occur with a traffic cop poised to write a ticket, with a store reluctant to accept your personal check, with a landlord who fails to provide essential services or wants to double your rent, with the professional who bills you for part of the cost of his or her education, with a car dealer who tries to pull a fast one, or with a hotel clerk who has “no room,” even though you have a guaranteed reservation. Some of the most frequent and frustrating negotiations occur within a family, where parents and children often unknowingly engage in this activity. Let me give you an example from my personal experience.
My wife and I have three children. At nine, our youngest son weighed fifty pounds, remarkably light for a child his age. Actually, he was an embarrassment to our entire family. I say that because my wife and I like to eat, and our two oldest children have voracious appetites. Then there was this third kid. People would ask us, “Where did he come from?” or “Whose kid is that?”
Our son arrived at his emaciated state by developing a life strategy of avoiding vicinities where food might be served. To him “meals,” “kitchen,” “dinner,” and “food” were profane words.
Several years ago, I returned home on a Friday evening after an ascetic week of travel and lectures. It’s lonely on the road—at least for some of us—so I pondered a potential negotiation with my wife later in the evening. As I entered our home, I was dismayed to find my wife curled up in a fetal position on the couch, sucking her thumb. I perceived that there might be a problem. “I’ve had a rough day,” she murmured.
To snap her out of her doldrums, I said, “Why don’t we all go to a restaurant for dinner?”
She and our two oldest replied in unison, “Wonderful idea.”
The nine-year-old dissented. “I’m not going to any restaurant! That’s where they serve food!” At this point I lifted him bodily and carried him to the automobile, which is one type of negotiation.
As we entered the restaurant, the nine-year-old continued to complain. Finally he said, “Dad, why do I have to sit around the table with everyone? Why can’t I be under the table?”
I turned to my wife. “Who’ll know the difference? We’ll have four around and one under. We may even save money on the check!” She was against this at the outset, but I convinced her that the idea might have merit.
The meal began, and the first ten minutes were uneventful. Before the second course arrived, I felt a clammy hand creeping up my leg. A few seconds later my wife jumped as though she’d been goosed.
Angry, I reached under the table, grabbed the culprit by his shoulders, and slammed him down on the seat beside me. I muttered, “Just sit there. Do not talk to me, your mother, your brother, or your sister!”
He replied, “Sure, but can I stand on the chair?”
“All right,” I conceded, “but just leave all of us alone!”
Twenty seconds later, without warning, this lean child cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “This is a crummy restaurant!”
Startled though I was, I had enough presence of mind to grab him by the neck, shove him under the table, and ask for the check.
On the way home, my wife said to me, ”Herb, I think we learned something tonight. Let’s not ever take the little monster to a restaurant again.”
I must confess that we never have offered to take our lean child to a restaurant again. What our nine-year-old did on that embarrassing occasion was to use information and power to affect our behavior. Like so many of today’s youngsters, he’s a negotiator—at least with his parents.
You constantly negotiate at work—though you may not always be aware you’re doing it. Subordinates or employees use information and power to affect the behavior of those above them. Let’s say you have an idea or proposal you want accepted. What’s required is that you package your concept in such a way that it meets the current needs of your boss, as well as the present priorities of your organization. There are many people with technical expertise who lack the negotiating skill needed to sell their ideas. As a result they feel frustrated.
In today’s world a wise boss always negotiates for the commitment of his employees. What is a boss? Someone with formal authority who attempt to get people to do voluntarily what must be done. You and I know that the best way to shaft a boss these days—to transform him into a shaftee with you being the shaftor—is to do precisely what he or she tells you to. When told what to do, you write it down and ask, “Is this what you want?” Then you proceed to comply, literally.
Two weeks later, your boss runs up to you and blurts, “What happened?”
You reply, “I don’t know. I did exactly what you told me to do.”
We have a name for that in today’s world. We call that phenomenon “Malicious Obedience.” And there are many people out there who practice it to a refined art. So if you happen to be a boss, you never want an employee to do exactly what you tell him to do. You want him to occasionally do what you don’t tell him to do often what you can’t tell him to do, because many problems can’t be anticipated.
Not only do you negotiate with your boss or your subordinates, but you also negotiate with your peers. To get your job done, you need the cooperation, help, and support of many people whose boxes aren’t situated beneath yours on an organization chart with the arrows pointing upward. These people may have different functions or different disciplines. They may even be in different parts of town. You need negotiation skill to obtain their help and support.
You may negotiate with customers or clients, bankers, vendors, suppliers, even governmental agencies from the Internal Revenue Service to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. You may negotiate for a larger budget, more office space, greater autonomy, time off from work, a geographical transfer, or anything you believe will meet your needs. The point I’m making is that you negotiate more often than you realize. Therefore you should learn to do it well. You can learn to be effective—and thus enhance the quality of your life—on and off the job.
In every negotiation in which you’re involved—in every negotiation in which I’m involved—in fact, in every negotiation in the world (from a diplomatic geopolitical negotiation to the purchase of a home)—three crucial elements are always present:
  1. Information. The other side seems to know more about you and your needs than you know about them and their needs.
  2. Time. The other side doesn’t seem to be under the same kind of organizational pressure, time constraints, and restrictive deadlines you feel you’re under.
  3. Power. The other side always seems to have more power and authority than you think you have.
Power is a mind-blowing entity. It’s the capacity or ability to get things done to exercise control over people, events, situations, and oneself. However, all power is based on perception. If you think you’ve got it, then you’ve got it. If you think you don’t have it, even if you have it, then you don’t have it. In short, you have more power if you believe you have power and view your life’s encounters as negotiations.
Your ability to negotiate determines whether you can or can’t influence your environment. It gives you a sense of mastery over your life. It isn’t chiseling, and it isn’t intimidation of an unsuspecting mark. It’s analyzing information, time, and power to affect behavior the meeting of needs (yours and others’) to make things happen the way you want them to.
The fine art of negotiation isn’t really new. By my definition, two of the greatest negotiators in history lived approximately two thousand years ago. Neither man was part of the Establishment of his time. Neither had formal authority. However, both exercised power.
Both men dressed shabbily and went around asking questions (thereby gathering information), one in the form of syllogisms, the other in the form of parables. They had objectives and standards. They were willing to take risks—but with a sense of mastery of their situation. Each man chose the place and means of his death. However, in dying, both gained the commitment of followers who carried on after them, changing the value system on the face of this earth. In fact, many of us try to live by their values in our daily lives.
Of course, I’m referring to Jesus Christ and Socrates. By my definition, they were negotiators. They were Win-Win ethical negotiators, and they were power people. In fact, both of them deliberately used many of the collaborative approaches I will teach you through this book.
The sign wasn’t placed there
by the Big Printer in the Sky.
2. Almost everything
is negotiable
Information, time pressures, and perceived power often spell the difference between satisfaction and frustration for you. Using a hypothetical situation, let me illustrate. You awaken one morning and go to the refrigerator for a glass of milk. You plan to drink most of it straight, then pour the rest into your coffee. As you open the refrigerator door and grasp the container, you’re aware that it’s clammy. Stepping back, you notice a pool of water on the floor. You call your spouse over to diagnose the situation, and your spouse gives you the technical name for the problem: “Broken refrigerator.”
You comment, “I think we need a new one. Let’s buy it at a ‘one-price store,’ where we won’t be hassled.” Because your children are too young to be left alone, you tell them, “Get in the car. We’re going to buy a refrigerator.” En route you discuss your cash-flow problem. Since you’re not very liquid at the moment, you decide to spend no more than $450.00 for the acquisition. In other words, you have a firm objective in mind.
You arrive at the one-price store: Sears, Ward’s, Gimbel’s, Marshall Field’s, Macy’s, Hudson’s, or whatever. For the sake of the narrative we’ll say it’s Sears. You walk briskly to the Large Appliances Department, with your organization trailing behind you. As you run your eye over the refrigerators, you see one that appears to meet your needs and specifications. However, as you approach, you notice that on the top of this model is a sign reading, “Only $489.95”—$39.95 more than your checking account can handle. It’s no ordinary sign scrawled with a Magic Marker. It’s symmetrical and professionally done: block-printed on expensive chipboard. And it appears to have been placed there by the Big Printer in the Sky.
You call out, “Hello, there!” and a salesperson ambles over.
“Yes may I help you?”
You reply, “I’d like to chat with you about this refrigerator.”
He says, “Do you like it?”
“I certainly do,” you admit.
He says, “Good I’ll write up the sales slip.”
You interject, “No wait—maybe we can talk.”
He arches an eyebrow and says, “When you and your wife finish discussing this, you’ll find me in Hardware,” and strolls away.
Now I ask you, will this be an easy or a difficult negotiation? Most people in our culture would say difficult. Why? Because of the great imbalance in information, apparent time pressure, and perceived power.
Information. What do you know about the salesman’s needs or the store’s needs? Is the salesman on salary, commission, or a combination of both? You don’t know. Does he have a budget, a quota, or a deadline? You don’t know. Has he had a great month, or did his boss warn him to sell a refrigerator to...

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