Think Like A Negotiator

Creating Win Win Results and Understanding the Pitfalls to Avoid

Live life with no regrets – Negotiation is not just about business deals

When I hold my training events or go to associations, organizations or corporations and do training events, sometimes people are surprised that I have an element of personal development inserted into the training.  Negotiation is simply discussions to agree on a deal, but it’s not always a business deal. It can be employee to employee, parent to child, spouse to spouse etc.  Everything is Negotiable.

The number one thing you need in order to be a good negotiator is confidence, confidence in yourself and your negotiation position.  The self confidence comes from doing the inner work.  The power is in the work.  So how do you get to that level of confidence.  You have to work on that person within and find peace within yourself.  That means relaxing in grace, remember what matters most, get to know your higher power better, review where you need to grow, forget what can’t be changed and focus on the future.

Too many times in my past, I lived in the past.  I worried, I wanted to do something to change the past.  Thinking about how silly that sounds now makes me laugh.  Really?  I spent time on thinking about how I could change the past?  The “what if’s” and the “if only’s.” I lived with regrets, I held unforgiveness, I was stuck in the tradition of “it’s always been done that way.” Enlightenment comes from doing the work to let go of all that mess.  I did the work, I let it go.  That doesn’t mean that life will never give me a punch to my gut.  It happens, that’s part of life.  I may regret poor choices I’ve made at some point but if I did something to make those choices or wrongs right and keep moving forward, that’s all I can do.  I have to forget what can’t be changed and focus on the future.

Many things have happened to me over the last year.  Some good, some bad.  Some that made me very happy and others that made me very sad.  If I chose to stay in yesterday and regret some of the things I’ve done, choices I’ve made or experiences I’ve had, then I will be stuck in those events and day to day life will pass me by.  It’s challenging sometimes to move on after a loss or when life’s challenges knock on your door.  How you negotiate through those challenges and where you come out on the other side is the true test of courage and faith.

Inner peace is the thing in life we should strive for the most and is priceless beyond any possession or level of success we can possibly achieve.  It doesn’t mean we will never be rocked to our core by life but going down that path with peace as our foundation gives us a better place to deal with life’s challenges from.

As you become a better negotiator in professional life, remember also the personal side of your life is also an area to achieve negotiation mastery in.

Note: Some of the concepts were adapted from the message from Saddleback church/Pastor Rick Warren’s message on Five Daily Habits for Happiness


5 November 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Verify The Facts

One of the tips in my upcoming Think Like A Negotiator book is “Prepare In Advance.”  Part of the preparation includes another tip, which is “Verify the Facts.”

When you are preparing for a negotiation it is always best to verify the facts.  Verifying what you have been presented is a way to ensure you have the truth about the information given to you.

Many times we take things at face value and later find out that what we thought to be true actually wasn’t true at all.  Perhaps we have some information that is factual and we make a decision about those facts without looking further to uncover the rest of the story. Maybe you made an agreement for a fee and when the charge came in it was much higher than what you agreed to or you got double charged for something on your business or credit card statement.

Whether it’s a multimillion-dollar deal or simply some information you’ve gathered from a friend, before you decide to take the data as factual, you may want to consider doing some further research to ensure that the data is accurate.  If it’s a large contract and either the numbers are wrong or the proposal has an error, it could mean a large loss of funds or time.  I once managed a contract where the bid was submitted missing a $300,000 cost.  It was a fixed price bid so we had no oversight into the costs submitted.  The bidder didn’t verify that all the facts were accurate before they submitted the bid and ended up losing the funds to cover that portion of the work.  They realized it after the fact and brought it to my attention over 2 years into the contract.  At that point we were unable to do anything to approve that cost due to the amount of time that had passed.  Verifying the facts before they submitted the bid would have caught that error before the bid was submitted.

What about in our personal lives? Often times we get some information and go on those facts without further verification.  It can be something that may cause unneeded stress in our lives.  I know of someone who was told his wife was cheating on him with another man.  They told him who the man was and he went straight to the man and beat him up for being with his wife.  He didn’t verify the facts first and later found out that it was not true.  Had he taken the time to verify the facts before he acted, that unnecessary assault would have been avoided.

You might have made a payment with your business card for a hotel room.  It’s important to verify the charges on your bill to ensure they are accurate.  Someone I knew recently went to a hotel for an event.  She was going to originally stay 3 nights and changed the reservation to only one night due to some work she had to take care of before going to the event.  When she got her bill there was a one night “no show” charge plus the charge for the one night stay.  She had to call the hotel to have the charge credited. She caught it by verifying the facts on her billing statement.

In whatever area of your life, business, employment, personal, be sure to take the time to verify the facts.  It will save you in the long run.


29 October 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Get Your Carpet Cleaned While On a Radio Show

So there I was on a one hour live radio show at 10 am til 11am PDT when my doorbell rings and it’s the carpet cleaning guys that I had scheduled to come after noon today.  They decided to show up at 10:30 instead!

I handed a note out to them that I was on a radio interview until 11am.  I wasn’t ready for them and had a couple extra uh’s and um’s on the show as I was in the middle of talking when they came ringing the doorbell off the ringer.  (they kept ringing until I answered because they heard me talking).

They came in and looked around my small place and asked me a couple questions about what I wanted.  The guy on the phone the day before had quoted me $60 for my place.  The guy who was assessing the place then quoted me $180 for all the extra’s they wanted to do.  I said forget it, too much money for this small place.  They proceeded to get ready to do the house.  They talked to their boss and made an offer of $140 for all the extras.  No deal, I told them just do the regular cleaning.

Because they came early I wasn’t ready so was scrambling to get pets out of the way and move excess furniture ; chairs etc.  While they were getting their equipment from the car, my son came out of his room and left.  They asked did I want his room done too and told me it would be $30 for that.  I said I was quoted $60 for the entire house.  They called the boss and ended up passing me the phone.

The boss then told me it was $20 for an extra room (not the $30 the other guy quoted me). I told him he quoted me $60 for the entire house.  We went back and forth but I stood my ground on the $60.  He kept saying different things and I went back to “I hear what you are saying but yesterday I told you the size of my place and you quoted me $60 for the entire place.”  Every time he brought up another point, I repeated the same thing back to him until he finally said pass the phone back to the technician.

End result, entire house done for $60.  They showed up early, attempted to upsell me into 3 times the price they quoted and were in and out in a few short minutes.  Then they wanted to be paid in cash but never told me to have cash for the payment.  They took my debit card in the end.  I won’t be calling them again.

The point is, stand your ground and don’t let people push you into a different agreement.  Actually I should have asked for a discount for the trouble they caused me showing up significantly before they were suppose to.  In the end I didn’t let them push me around which is part of what negotiation is all about.

26 June 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fair and Reasonable

Fair and Reasonable.  What is fair and reasonable and what does it mean in relationship to negotiation, contracts and doing business?  A Fair and Reasonable price can be defined as the price a prudent businessperson would pay for an item or service under competitive market conditions, given a reasonable knowledge of the marketplace.  Fair implies a proper balance of conflicting interests.  Reasonable means not extreme or excessive.  So a fair and reasonable price is one that is balanced and somewhat moderate.

Fair and reasonable is sometimes a judgment call, sometimes it’s what the market will bear, other times it falls inline with how similar things are handled. For instance, have you ever made a credit card payment to an entrepreneur or other service provider who passes the credit card fee onto you to pay?  I have come across that now and then in my dealings and don’t think it is fair and reasonable for them to require me to pay the fee.  It’s the cost of doing business.  That would be like making you pay for every cost and fee that is associated with their business.  How is it fair and reasonable to add on that charge?

Another area is in that of actual performance.  Have you ever hired someone to do a job and they do it in mediocrity? Then they get upset when you demand they do rework to bring it up to a higher standard.  I moved into a condo in Irvine CA about 6 months ago.  The condo was renovated before I moved in and I had to do a move in inspection within 10 days of move in.  I found so many things wrong with the place and within a couple of weeks the paint started peeling off in both bathrooms and the kitchen.  They had pretty much painted the chrome towel rack in one of the bathrooms as well. The sliding glass doors should have been replaced and there were several other problems that I noted.

The company that did the renovation came back to repaint the bathrooms and kitchen.  They not only left a mess that they didn’t bother cleaning up; they left splattered paint everywhere and didn’t completely cover the primer they put on in some spots.  They were sloppy with the paint to the point where I am sure I would have done a better job!  When I complained again about the work, they were upset about it.  Really?  If they had done the work in excellence to begin with they would not have to come back to make the corrections.

I also kept on them about the sliding glass doors, which they ended up replacing with completely new doors at no cost to me.  The original doors did not close all the way, would not lock and there was a huge gap between the two doors where air was freely blowing through. They forced the door into the slot to make it lock when they did the renovation.  As soon as the door was opened it never would lock again.  This was ridiculous and that fact that they were upset about having to fix it was criminal!

Sometimes it doesn’t feel comfortable to stand up for ourselves or complain about bad service.  Think about it this way, if you don’t complain or ask for it to be made right, you are telling that company or person that it is ok for them to do that kind of work and get away with it in the future. We owe it to ourselves to speak up when service is poor. We need to make a change in the way we do business and the things we are willing to accept.  I for one am not willing to accept substandard performance or service any longer and will speak up whenever it applies.  I hope you will too.  We need to hold each other accountable to a different standard. Minimum possible to get by should no longer be acceptable.  I have learned so much about my own business by seeing things that others are willing to put their name to.  We all make mistakes but low quality should not be the norm. We need to get back to high standards of quality and excellence in all that we do, in everything we do. Let’s do it now before it’s too late.

UPDATE: I was doing some further research on the issue of fees and surcharges and found some information that indicates it’s not authorized if the individual is paying with a debit card and there are 10 states where it’s not authorized at all.  California where I live is one of those states. 

States Where No Surcharge Laws Protect Consumers

Surcharging isn’t allowed everywhere. Currently, there are laws limiting surcharging in: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Consumers who are subjected to a surcharge or checkout fees in states where they may be prohibited from surcharging may want to report the retailer to their state attorney general’s office.
Click a state below to learn more about surcharging in these locations.

State Laws & Attorney General Contact Information


“No retailer…may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means…”

Statute: Cal. Civ. Code § 1748.1(a) (West)

Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in California

“A retailer may, however, offer discounts for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check or other means not involving the use of a credit card, provided that the discount is offered to all prospective buyers.”

Statute: Cal. Civ. Code § 1748.1(a) (West)

Statutes cover: Credit Cards only

Statute: (Cal. Civ. Code § 1747.02(a) (West) (defining “credit card”))

California State Attorney GeneralMore information

(*external link implies no endorsement by state of California)


“[N]o seller…may impose a surcharge on a holder who elects to use a credit or charge card in lieu of payment by cash check or similar means…”

Statute: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-2-212(1) (West)

Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Colorado

“Discounts offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving credit card are not finance charges if offered to all prospective buyers and disclosed clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations.”

Statute: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-2-212(2) (West)

Statutes cover: Credit Cards only

Statute: (See Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-1-301(16), (16.5), (24), (43) (West)).1

Colorado State Attorney General – More information


“No seller may impose a surcharge on a buyer who elects to use any method of payment, including, but not limited to, cash, check, credit card or electronic means…”

Statute: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 42-133ff(a) (West)

Statute: Id. at § 42-133ff(d).

Statute covers: Credit & Debit

No surcharges on travel agents

”No provider of travel services may impose a surcharge on or reduce the commission paid to a travel agent who acts as an agent for such provider if the buyer uses a credit card to purchase such provider’s travel services.”

Statute: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 42-133ff(e) (West)

Statute does not define credit card to include debit card

Connecticut State Attorney GeneralMore information

Connecticut Department of Consumer ProtectionMore information


“A seller…may not impose a surcharge on the buyer…for electing to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means, if the seller…accepts payment by credit card…”

Statute: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.0117(1) (West)

Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Florida

Discounts offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving a credit card allowed if offered to all prospective buyers.

Statute: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.0117(1) (West)

Statutes cover: Statute does not define credit card to include debit card

Statute: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.011(1) (West)

Florida State Attorney General ” More information


“No seller…or any credit card issuer may impose a surcharge on a card holder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.”

Statute: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 16a-2-403

Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Kansas

Attorney General’s opinion interprets section 16a-2-403’s predecessor statute to not prohibit discounts for payments made by cash, check or similar means.

Statute: Kan. Op. Attorney Gen. 86-115, 1986 WL 238345 (1986)

Statutes cover: Statutes do not define credit card to include debit card

Statute: (See Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 16a-1-301(18), (19))

Kansas State Attorney GeneralMore information


“No seller…may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.”

Statute: Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 9-A, § 8-303(2) (See also id. § 8-103 (definitions and rules of construction))

Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Maine

Discount offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving a credit card not considered a finance charge if offered to all prospective buyers and disclosed clearly and conspicuously.

Statute: See Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 9-A, § 8-303(3)

Statutes cover: Credit cards only

Statute: (See Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 9-A, § 1-301(15), (16)).1

Maine State Attorney GeneralMore information


“No seller…may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.”

Statute: Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, § 28A(a)(2) (West)

Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Massachusetts

Discount offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving a credit card not considered a finance charge if offered to all prospective buyers and disclosed clearly and conspicuously.

Statute: Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, § 28A(b) (West)

Statutes cover: Credit cards only

Statute: (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, § 1 (West))

Massachusetts State Attorney GeneralMore information

(*external link implies no endorsement by state of Massachusetts)

New York

“No seller…may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means…”

Statute: N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 518 (McKinney)

Statute covers: Credit cards only

Statute: (N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 511(1))

New York State Attorney GeneralMore information


“No seller…may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.”

Statute: Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 14A, § 2-211, -417 (West)

Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Oklahoma

Discount offered to induce payment by cash, check or similar means not involving an open-end credit card not considered a credit service charge if offered to all prospective buyers clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations.

Statutes cover: Credit cards only

Statute: (See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 14A, § 1-301(7), (9), (19)

Oklahoma State Attorney GeneralMore information


“[A] seller may not impose a surcharge on a buyer who uses a credit card for an extension of credit instead of cash, a check or a similar means of payment.”

Statute: Tex. Fin. Code Ann. § 339.001(a) (Vernon)

Statute covers: Credit cards only

Statute: Tex. Fin. Code Ann. § 301.002(a)(2),(9)

Texas State Attorney GeneralMore information

Above info from: out the link to this article for more info:

9 June 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ask For Exactly What I Want

Ask. It’s simple right? Ask for what you want? Many times we simply don’t ask and if you don’t ask you don’t get. Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you are not going to take the shot, the opportunity or whatever is before you, you will miss out on many things in your life. Many times we don’t ask out of fear. The fear of rejection or the fear of hearing the word “no. “ Rejection is never personal. When I was a Mary Kay® consultant I was petrified to ask for fear of getting rejected. I got into Mary Kay® to get over my fear of speaking in front of people, but I had a bigger fear that I had to overcome, the fear of hearing “no.”

Negotiation is confrontational to many people I have worked with. They feel like they should not ask or don’t have the confidence to stand up for themselves. The first way to work on this is to develop a better relationship with yourself. If you have a great relationship with yourself, chances are you feel confident and secure in who you are. Oprah Winfrey said “if you to the work you will eventually become what I call a [person] who is in complete possession of [themselves].” When you’ve done the work, the confidence allows you the power to as Debbie Allen says “get your ask on.”

Let’s talk a moment about asking for consideration for poor or substandard service. Recently I was at Craig Duswalt’s 3 day Rockstar Mastermind event at a hotel on “LAX row.” I chose to valet park all 3 days. I chose to pay a little more than the parking lot for the convenience to walk into the hotel and get my car quickly. I needed to be able to get out of there quickly in the evening because I had other events I had to attend.

On the second day I went out to get my car. It took 30 minutes to get my car! I could have walked to the other paid parking lot in half the time. They had only one guy working because they made everyone else go to a staff meeting. Not sure who thought it was a bright idea to have a meeting at the busiest time of the day when everyone was getting out of the events being held at the hotel. I waited at least 10 minutes to pay someone along with several other people.

There were so many driverless valet cars stacked up in the front of the hotel that they couldn’t even bring my car up. The only guy working started moving all the cars around. The airport shuttle couldn’t even get through. I had to go get my car in the valet parking lot so I could get out of there. I could not drive through the hotel so had to back up around the valet parking lot to get out another way. By this time almost 30 minutes had elapsed since I had walked out of the hotel. I ended up being late to get my daughter for an event because of it.

When I came back the third day, I intended to ask for consideration for the substandard service from the day before. I asked when I went to pay on the third day and the guy behind the counter referred me to his manager. I explained the situation to him. He indicated there was a problem because everyone was in a mandatory staff meeting and they left only one guy to handle it all. He indicated they already discounted the rate 50% off the normal rate for the event. I agreed that they did but reminded him that the discount applied to the service I’m expected to get. I should not have to pay that price for substandard service. He agreed to give me a discount, which equated to $2.30 off the price.

Some people ask me why I do that. Why do I say anything at all? It makes some people uncomfortable and feels confrontational to others. The main reason I ask for consideration from substandard service isn’t about getting something free or at a reduced rate. That’s secondary. The reason I do it is because there is a level of complacency in this country that makes me sick to my stomach. If we accept substandard service and say it’s ok by not speaking up, we give them to ok to continue that level of service.

Now I need to interject a word about how you express your dissatisfaction. It is not ok to belittle, defame or rip someone apart. It’s important to be direct and firm. Please ensure it is not insulting. I see too many times when someone rips someone else apart for making a mistake. We are all human, mistakes happen; we just need to let those in business know that their mistake is not ok with us and not only do they need to do something to make sure it doesn’t happen again, they also need to give us some consideration for our having experienced it. Don’t go using social media to tear someone down. Do it in private if you can and do it with respect. Praise in public, correct in private should be the rule to follow in most cases.

The Air Force core values that I still live by today are Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in all we do. Take the last one. Excellence in all we do. That is not the core value of many businesses and even employees today. Many operate in mediocrity. Do the minimal to get by and that’s ok. We owe it to ourselves to totally stand up and let people know when their service is below standards. If we don’t then that makes it ok for them to keep giving mediocre service. Mediocrity and complacency will destroy free enterprise. Take on the core value of “Excellence in all we do” and be sure to ask for exactly what you want

19 May 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Negotiation Language – How You Say It Affects It

Negotiation is all about how we communicate and it’s one of the areas to consider when preparing for a negotiation. Language is so important. The words we use can often be construed in different ways to have different meanings depending on who is doing to receiving. In negotiation, you must be sure the language you are using conveys the appropriate message to gain the appropriate response. How you say it may ensure you win or lose the deal.

Most of you who have been following me have noticed my shift to showing people how to Think Like A Negotiator. People often ask me why I have made the focus on negotiation vs my Pink Biker Chic brand. I have responded by telling them that it’s negotiation is my genius and I never thought to teach it. I tell them about a good friend of mine who is a business strategist was having some contract challenges with a client; I shared some of my contracts knowledge to help her resolve the issue. Her response was “I get this Pink Biker Chic thing, but where did all that come from and why aren’t you teaching it to others?” I share that I thought why would anybody want to learn that? It’s my genius, I do it in my sleep and take it for granted that everyone has that knowledge.

Well, recently I was at an event and passed someone who said he knew me but couldn’t remember where from. I knew him too from somewhere and told him he probably knew me from my Pink Biker Chic brand and explained the story above. He immediately launched into this idea that I don’t value myself and have issues and need to resolve those issues with him so I value myself and my genius. Then he attempted to hard sell me into doing a session with him to fix my issues within myself so I will be successful, basically implying I am not successful because I don’t value myself. It was much more than that but you get the gist. WOW! Really? Thankfully another friend walked up and started talking to him so that provided a pattern interrupt for me to depart which I did.

What that did for me was enable me to take a look at my language and evaluate whether that was a message I am projecting when I share my story. I certainly don’t have the serious issues that he implied. Of course we all have some kind of doubt about ourselves but he was attempting to tell me I was broken and that I really needed serious help. This is without even taking the time to find out anything about me.

Be careful of the language you use. I’m not talking about being politically correct. Chances are we will offend someone with what we say, but if we evaluate our normal “shtick” to make sure we aren’t projecting negatively onto ourselves or others, we will be better off in day to day communication as well as our significant negotiations. Take the time this week to pay close attention to the things you say. You may need to make an adjustment based on feedback and results. I sure did.

30 April 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Negotiating A Transition

Transition means movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another. It is fluid although often times feels like movement has halted. I have gone through many transitions in my life. The biggest transition I would say is transitioning from the military to civilian life. It has been 10 years and to this day I can see something that reminds me of my military service and tear up over it.

Recently I started to go through a transition with my business. If you have been following me since I created the Pink Biker Chic brand you may have noticed in the last month a transition to my focus on negotiation. I have been teaching negotiation over the last couple of years under the Pink Biker Chic brand somewhat sporadically while still focusing on the Pink Biker Chic empowerment brand and clothing line. I have had several thought leaders in the Entrepreneur space strongly suggesting I should focus on negotiation since it is my genius for 30 years. It would mean splitting off from my Pink Biker Chic brand and transitioning my focus to my negotiation and contracts expertise.

I fought this for a very long time. I didn’t want to stop my focus on Pink Biker Chic, I’d worked so hard at it. Many people love the brand. It’s a great brand but its a hobby brand as it’s not producing enough income to sustain me and wasn’t moving in that direction. I didn’t go into business to have a hobby. I went into business to be a sustainable business that would help people. It hasn’t been working and after much resistance I made a conscious decision to shift my focus to the new positioning of “Think Like A Negotiator.” With this shift I am totally focused on this positioning.

Making the decision isn’t the end of the transition, it’s just the beginning. As I move through the transition it now requires a whole new platform which will take some time. This is why you are seeing this simple blog site as my temporary website until I get a new site, look and position footprint out to the world. In the background I am working on my 50 tips book, marketing my next event and speaking at several venues on negotiation.

Transition is never simple. It’s not usually easy. It takes focus, work and determination. In a sense I feel like I’m starting over but in essence this is just the beginning of a whole new way to share with people and help them be a success while being a viable business.

Keep following the journey. This is just the start of something really big.

19 April 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Draw the Line

Many times discussions occur to resolve some sort of dispute. You may end up going back and forth on an issue to get it resolved and find that the other side just isn’t doing anything to resolve the issue. When it gets to that point, it is time to draw the line and push your position hard over to the other side. It may require indicating you will take some sort of action if they don’t resolve the problem within a reasonable time. That could mean going to court, reporting the company to an agency like the Better Business Bureau or the individual to the board or organization such as the Bar for an Attorney, the IRS for a tax professional, the Medical Association for a Doctor etc.

I prefer to use this strategy as a last resort. However, when it comes down to something that will in the end negatively affect me, my business or my family or personal life somehow, it becomes time for no more Ms. Nice Girl.

A had a situation where a service establishment was handling some professional work for my company. Their action and failure of action had resulted in my getting in trouble with the state and being assessed significant penalties. It was their fault, they admitted to it and I worked with them for months to get them to resolve it, which they did not. I finally had to draw the line and tell the owner of the company that if this wasn’t resolved to my satisfaction, not only was I going to report them to the Government agency that governed their profession, I was also going to send out a letter to 2 organizations where they had significant business dealings and were referral partners with those organizations. These two actions would have significant impact on their business.

I was prepared to go through with it, otherwise I wouldn’t use this strategy. The way I saw it they left me no choice. I sent them a 3 page letter in writing outlining everything that had occurred. I purposely did that so I would have the entire scenario already outlined for the other agencies so if I needed to send the information, I could simply sent that letter. That got some action pretty quick and although the problem is still being resolved, I will soon have the documentation that should clear my record with the state, which is all I wanted in the first place.

Bottom line, when a dispute can’t be resolved, draw the line and push back hard. You will get results or at least know if you need to elevate it to the next level such as court or some other formal proceedings.

14 April 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Federal Contracts Guide – Key to Getting Government Contracts

What is the key to getting contracts with the Federal Government?  You may think you have to be 8a certified, or take a course on how to get a GSA contract or perhaps how to leverage yourself with numerous tools and systems that for a “small fee” will all help you uncover the mystery to the secret of Federal Contracting and turn it into instant cash.

As an Air Force Contracting Officer for 23 years and a Contracts Negotiator for a couple of major defense contractors over the last 7 years, I can tell you the secret and it may not be what you think.  Its one word – Relationship.

The following is the definition of relationship from

Relationship Definition – re·la·tion·ship (ri lās̸hən s̸hip′)


  1. the quality or state of being related; connection
  2. connection by blood, marriage, etc.; kinship
  3. a particular instance of being related
  4. a continuing attachment or association between persons, firms, etc.

You’ve heard the adage people do business with people they know, like and trust right?  That phrase plays a key factor in the Federal Contracting process.  As a past Government buyer, I wanted my job to get done quickly.  Yes, there are rules for competition; for simplified acquisitions a formal bid process isn’t required in many cases and a simple phone call or e-mail would work. I solicited bids from people I had built relationships with.  Those that I knew, liked and trusted.

I did an entire presentation for the Gas Company in Los Angeles CA entitled Turning Contacts into Contracts.  That presentation focused on becoming known, liked and trusted by the Government buyers.  In that presentation I told the story about being a buyer at a base in Texas.  There was a concrete vendor who was one of our suppliers that had a blanket agreement to provide concrete.  The concrete orders had a variation in quantity on all orders of +/- 10%.  That means that if the delivery was 10% above or 10% below the quantity ordered, we would approve it for payment.

When I took over, the previous buyer had regularly authorized payment above the 10% quantity variation and from the historical records it looked like the contractor had taken advantage of that as every delivery was beyond the 10% variation in quantity.  When I  placed my first order with his company, he did his usual and delivered over there 10% variation.  When the invoice came in for approval for payment, I contacted him to tell him I was reducing his invoice down to the 10% variation in quantity amount.  He proceeded to scream at me and threaten me.  A short minute into that rant I told him I didn’t have to listen to that kind of talk and hung up on him.  Guess what?  The next time I had a concrete order, I called someone else I knew, liked and trusted and it wasn’t him!

There are a few keys to getting known, liked and trusted:

1.  Attend industry days, trade shows, pre bid conferences and any other events where your type of product or service has a gathering of people from the Government.  For industry days or trade show type environments, exchange business cards, get information from the booths, talk to the people from the companies, get a point of contact and ask them if they are the people to keep in touch with.

2. Attend events at the Small Business Development Center and other Centers of the Small Business Administration.  Many times they have workshops on different topics relating to the Government Contracting Process.  That’s a great place to meet potential people to collaborate with. Search for the local offices in your area and see what workshops they are offering.  Most of the time they are free or a very nominal fee.

3.  Do your research ahead of time.  If you are going to attend an event where several companies are involved, do some research on the people you want to chat with.  Have a strategy in place in advance in order to make most effective use of your time.

4.  Get set up online and bid!  Submit bids to get used to the process. If you did not win, you can request information about the winning bid.  Depending on the type of contract it is, the winners’ information will be announced publically.  Use this information to build a better strategy for the next bid or even contact the winning bidder and see if you can subcontract under them to provide a portion of the contract service.

5.  Get a coach to help you with the process.  For those of us who have navigated the Federal Contracting Superhighway, it’s a simple process. We know what exits to take and the shortest route to get to the destination. For those who have not it can appear to be very complicated or impossible to achieve.  The Federal Government is a multi billion if not multi trillion dollar industry.  If you provide a product or service in the commercial world, chances are there is a Government application for it.

The key to success is not paying some company thousands of dollars to tell you how to do it.  You have to use one of my top 10 negotiating tips which is Build Relationship First.

Contact me for coaching or questions at




16 July 2012 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , | Leave a comment


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