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

A Friends Reminder Gives a New Perspective

I was chatting on the phone this morning with my friend Cat Hammes known as the “One Legged Blonde.”  She has been riding motorcycles for 31 years long before women riding became popular.  In fact it was odd for a woman to be on a bike back then.  I’ve been riding for 18 years myself.  We still didn’t have a lot of women’s riding gear when I started riding. 

In our conversation, she reminded me that I was in the military long before it was popular for women to be in the military.  I enlisted in 1980.  The military was only about 8% women at that time.  There was starting to be a push to get more women into the military and into nontraditional jobs.  I actually scored high in the mechanical area on the aptitude test and I was being pushed to get into a mechanical career field.  Although I am a bit mechanical, can fix stuff if I need to, change my oil if I have to etc, I wanted to work with computers.  Computer programming was nothing like it is today.  It was considered an administrative career field back then.  I really wanted to work with computers so I enlisted in the “open administrative” career field which meant I would chose my job when I got to Basic Training.  When I went to choose my job, computer jobs were nowhere to be found on the list.  I ended up picking a job I knew nothing about or even what it was.  The job was called “Contracts Specialist.” I only picked it because it had the highest required score to get into it.  I figured you had to be smarter to do that job than the rest of the others so I chose Contracting not know what the job was about.  

I basically stumbled into the Contracting career field by accident and 30 years later I am teaching and helping people be better negotiators and ensuring they have the tools to never be taken advantage of again.  If you want to be a better negotiator, my Think Like A Negotiator course 11-13 October is guaranteed to help you do just that.  Check out the online store for more details.

I never thought of myself as a trail blazer.  You hear about a lot of women that flew planes, helicopters, drove tanks etc.  I flew a desk.  Not very interesting compared to some of the others.  I am proud of my service and don’t discount it.  That’s not what I’m saying.  In fact, I have inserted a rifle drill routine into my speaking presentation in order to stand out from the herd so to speak.

I realize from talking to Cat that I am a trailblazer and I achieved a lot more than I realize at times. Sometimes it takes someone on the outside looking in to remind you of just what you’ve accomplished.   I retired as a Master Sergeant, not an easy rank to get to, especially when I had to prove myself in a man’s world with sexual harassment and assault as part of the journey.  It was the extreme harassment I received in the Middle East the made me decide to retire after 23 years of service.  I wanted to be a Chief Master Sergeant but couldn’t handle it anymore after that deployment.  I had had enough. 

What does one of your friends need to do to remind you of all you’ve accomplished?  You may not have been in the military but don’t discount what you’ve done to get to where you are today.  Call up one of your friends and ask them what they see in your journey.  The reminder will brighten your day. 

Today I am excited about the release of my upcoming book and my upcoming event.  The military gave me the training to persevere in the face of adversity, the discipline to stick with it when I wanted to quit and the strength to carry on.  Thanks Cat for the reminder! You totally rock!

Check out Cat at http://www.oneleggedblonde.com/

17 July 2013 Posted by | Negotiation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

California

“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)

Colorado

“[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

Connecticut

“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

Florida

“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

Kansas

“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

Maine

“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

Massachusetts

“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

Oklahoma

“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

Texas

“[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:http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_visa/checkout_fees/index.htmlCheck out the link to this article for more info:

http://www.cardfellow.com/blog/checkout-fees-charging-credit-card-fees-to-customers/

9 June 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

   

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