Short summary - Everything is Negotiable: How to Get the Best Deal Every Time - Gavin Kennedy

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Everything is Negotiable: How to Get the Best Deal Every Time
Gavin Kennedy

The text is a concentrate of the book, divided into conventional parts with non-original headings.

About the origins of the negotiations

You did not learn the art of negotiation at work. You learned to negotiate without any effort, irresistibly striving for what you wanted to get, and thereby satisfy your immediate desire.

The children are already Fox negotiators: «If you feed me, you overwhelm me, I will stop yelling!» The strength of negotiating children lies in the asymmetry of values - theirs and yours. They quickly notice what is most important to you, and, threatening to take it from you, they achieve what they need.

But with age, they change. Children can become more sophisticated and turn into a fox. If their methods do not work regularly, they are satisfied with what they are and turn into Sheep.

About the purpose of negotiations and transactions

The goal of the negotiations is not to win, but to get closer to what you need.

The art of the deal is to figure out what the other side wants. And if you have it, you can be sure that the deal has taken place. What is of little value to you may seem invaluable to the other side.

Negotiations are not concessions, surrender and adjustment to the other side. This would be called coercion. Negotiations should be beneficial to both parties, but not necessarily equally. Both parties are entitled to veto the final result.

The purpose of the negotiations is not a compromise, not a deal on equal terms. You must take into account the interests of both parties, but think about your own and how to «bake a bigger pie for everyone.»

If it seems to you that you see a simple solution to the problem that the other side does not notice, take your time, maybe you didn’t take into account something.

About the first sentence

The worst thing you can do is accept the first offer. This undermines the faith of both parties in the success of the transaction and themselves.

The wrong approach to negotiations can ruin the whole impression.

Always question the first sentence. Your interlocutor does not expect you to accept him. This will not upset him. He can even raise the price if you immediately agree.

About the starting price

In negotiations, the moment of the first contact is important. You can try to dumb the other side with a high or low initial sentence. This will make them think, doubt, reconsider their principles and deal. But the initial bid price should be realistic and reasonable.

For everyone, the same thing has a different value. Find out the needs of customers, adapt your goods to them and receive money. The price should not exceed the amount they are willing to pay.

Written (for example, in price lists) believe more. This can be used as an argument. Do not write "bargaining is appropriate." You immediately reduce the value of the product, without even knowing its value to the buyer.

No need to give the buyer a detailed calculation of the price. This leaves him room for maneuver. He will question every point.

If you sell a thing and want to know how much the buyer is willing to pay, you can pretend that you are acting on behalf of another person. When asked how much a thing costs, say that you were told not to sell for less than a certain amount.

So the buyer can act. This is an easy way to state your claims and abandon them, as well as create the appearance of a neutral position.

About the balance of power

In any transaction, ask yourself who is buying and who is selling. The answer will help to understand on which side the strength is. She plays a big role. Negotiations are a balance of power.

The way the parties perceive each other's strength determines their behavior. Strength is perceived subjectively. Objective reality does not always matter. Not everyone knows the market equally well.

All steps should be considered as an attempt to change the other side's view of the realities of the market. If you believe that they have power, there’s nothing more to talk about.

Never trust the seller completely. Create your own picture of the real market.

About Vulnerability and Competition

Vulnerability in position is not a cause for panic. Everyone is vulnerable.

Competition is not a problem, you should not immediately believe everyone, give up and play only at a price. Intimidation by competitors is a trick. No need to assume in advance that competitors and buyers are in a better position. Otherwise, you will unconsciously pay attention to it and definitely lose.

In the market, rarely are two companies selling the same product. Buyers may also have their own preferences. This can change the balance of power. Buyers may think your competitors are not as strong as you think.

About negotiation and bidding

There are no solid prices in nature, therefore, the first quality of a successful negotiator is the ability to challenge the price, and the second is the ability to reflect the challenge of your price. Only timid negotiators do not try to reduce the price and immediately make discounts. Never accept the first sentence. In any case, you will not lose anything. Do not give up. Counterattack.

If you yield in price, they will put pressure on you in everything. And always demand a lower price in the future.

Price is only one supply variable. Do not change it. Change other conditions to reduce the total price: «There is one price for this package. For a different price, a different package. »

Before lowering prices, analyze the possibilities and limitations of the opposite side.

For negotiations, two proposals are needed. If you have been refused your first offer, do not rush to immediately propose new conditions. The other side can only wait for this. First, wait for the offer of the other side. Otherwise, you will negotiate with yourself.

Four key information points of the negotiations:

  • your first sentence;
  • your last sentence;
  • opponent’s first response
  • opponent’s last response.

The availability of deadlines helps to quickly reach an agreement. For example, in the event of a conflict, you can sue to give the other party a reason to think.

It is important to justify price reduction requirements. For example, make a list of shortcomings of the subject of the transaction. You can also try to convince the seller that you want to cooperate, but can not give more in the calculation of the discount.

Demonstrating emotions is a serious mistake. Do not give out your emotions, even if something you really like or need. Otherwise, it will be more difficult to obtain favorable conditions.

Think ahead of possible questions, answers, arguments.

Do not just stop negotiations. You can always agree. Strive for mutually beneficial agreements. As a last resort, let me know when you get back to them.

Do not think in the same terms as your opponent. If you are asked for a discount of only 1%, consider what it will result in, and do it right with him.

Answer any objection with the question: «Why?».

If you are asked to lower the price, and even using tricks like a pack of business cards from competitors, ask why you should do this. The more confused and emotional the answer, the less likely it is that competitors have offered something better.

Do not settle for simple contracts. They do not protect either side, because they do not describe the details. Ask what-if questions until you have written all the details.

About concessions and discounts

The most difficult thing is to cope with the desire to yield. It will not be mutual. Most likely, after this, the partner will continue to push. Become a Scrooge McDuck.

If you are confident in yourself, your product, represent a large company, remember that your product is in steady demand by consumers, and buyers want to see it on the shelves of their stores. Do not give in.

The negotiator’s most useful word is if: «If you ... then I ...». Concessions are of varying importance to the parties. Winning one side does not always mean losing the other. You need to look for a solution and make sure that in response to the concessions you get more than you give.

Give nothing for nothing. Do not just respond to the concessions of the other side. The fact of a concession worsens your position more than its size.

Each discount is a step towards the bankruptcy of the company.

About rigidity and softness

Stiffness usually outperforms softness. The opponent’s tough stance must be answered even more harshly. Then he is likely to soften the position. If you start from a soft position, it will tighten. Soft negotiators lose sooner or later, because opponents feel their softness.

Stiffness does not mean rudeness, the manifestation of emotions or «cool» behavior, but calm protection of one’s position. A tough negotiator would rather refuse a deal than agree to a disadvantageous one. Better 5 contracts for 20 thousand than 10 for 5.

About Conflicts

Dissatisfaction with others is normal both in life and in business. Express your claims competently, do not be indignant, do not blame, offer a realistic solution to correct the situation and take care of your interests.

If you give the search for a solution to another, then he will only care about his interests. In addition, he will have to guess what to offer you.

If you attack, the person defends himself. If you attack violently, the defense turns into a counterattack. If you question his competence, he will deal with yours. Irritation cannot be removed by heating it.

When proposing a solution, discuss it, not the legitimacy of your requirements.

About heavy opponents

Usually the most difficult opponents are powerful people, «cool» negotiators, cocky colleagues. Their methods are threats and intimidation. In fact, it’s just rude people who just want to take it.

Answer in their style does not make sense. It will only get worse. They simply do not know how to react differently. Courtesy is also not suitable. They see weakness in her and begin to press harder.

The difficulty is that we subconsciously associate such behavior with the end result. No need to bristle or give up. Separate their behavior from the end result, pretend that nothing happens. You can even say that their behavior will not affect the result, and you will be guided only by their proposals, arguments and concessions.

The result will not be fast. But gradually the opponent will realize that his usual methods do not work. If the opponent notices that you are reacting, he will increase the pressure.

It is possible to determine how weighty the arguments of the partner are only during the discussion. Therefore, listen, and do not add fuel to the fire, settling scores and sarcasm.

The behavior of others should not affect your goals and actions. Stick to the gist and go to your result.

About appearance, luxury and intimidation

Often the «successful» look of people, offices, reputation and prestige are used to intimidate you, put pressure, lower self-esteem, subjugate, force to work with them. You will be grateful for any bone that they decide to throw you.

Such implicit intimidation is more dangerous than open intimidation, since we do not notice it, but it does. The thing is that most of us want to live in the same luxury. Successful people are believed to have high standards of living. Therefore, any confirmation of solvency is automatically associated with success.

When we see this luxury in others, we think that they are better than us. We draw an analogy between external attributes and real power. Almost all scammers use this. In fact, if you pay attention to the surrounding benefits, then the hook is already swallowed. The rest is a matter of technology.

Resisting this is not easy, but possible. In fact, all this tinsel does not mean anything. The main thing is not to let yourself be intimidated. Therefore, the best reaction is to behave as usual.

Do not read their ads while you are waiting at the reception. Better go about your business. Moreover, you do not need to make it clear that you have pecked. For example, praise the view from the window. Also no need to bully in response.

Remember why you are there. If you do not let yourself be intimidated, and even demonstrate professionalism, this will be enough to start a serious conversation.

About threats

Threats can be used to replace negotiations. "If you ..., then ..." - and a proposal that does not suit you at all. But the threats are real only if you believe in their reality.

Threats can ruin a good relationship or destroy a not-so-good one. They rarely lead to the desired result. More often they are followed by counterthreats. As a result, returning to productive negotiations is very difficult. Try not to resort to threats, especially open ones.

Usually a threat is an attempt to lower the status of negotiations, to recall weaknesses, and it is not worth answering them. But sometimes a threat is the only chance to save the negotiations. For example, when it is better to worsen relations than to stagnate endlessly.

In international conflicts, threats are the norm. In other cases, they are usually disguised as hints. Therefore, for the time being, you can pretend that you do not notice them. A common implicit threat is the intention to do business with someone else.

Before threatening, you need to evaluate whether you are ready to carry out your threat, and how effective it will be.

If your opponents think they put you on your shoulder blades, why should they negotiate and threaten you? Therefore, in fact, your position is not so weak. The fact that you have been cornered does not mean that you have no options.

Your task is to determine the range of options and expand it. Otherwise, it remains only to choose from the proposed disadvantageous alternatives. The longer the stalemate lasts, the more likely the parties are to compromise.

It is possible to draw the attention of the other side to the impasse into which it is driving negotiations. But it is extremely important to choose the right moment in order to avoid discontent, irritation and anger.

The severity of the threat must be commensurate with the situation. No one will take you seriously if you threaten your neighbor with nuclear weapons.

The threat is acceptable at the end of negotiations as a way out of the impasse, but not at the beginning. The threat that opens negotiations will not only not help overcome the resistance of opponents, but will strengthen it.

Realization of the threat can cost a lot to the party, resorting to it and losing the possibility of a deal, and to you. You will surely lose something - the dependence of partners in negotiations is never one-sided.

A careless remark can sometimes be perceived as a threat - and a challenge will follow. If negotiations are interrupted, then the threat may have to be implemented.

Dependence on decisions of the other side increases the chances that you will be forced to certain actions. By reducing your addiction, you are more confident in resisting threats.

Sometimes a hidden threat is enough. For example, it is worth punishing one small supplier, and the rest will understand how they should not conduct business.

On the interests of the other party

Address the interests of the other side. Tell them not about your needs, but about the benefits that they will have if they give you what you need. At the same time, interests and positions should be distinguished and taken into account. Positions are what we want. Interests are why we want it.

There are a number of reasons why the parties take concrete positions on a certain issue. Some people base their strategy on bullying to force you to give up. Others build their strategy in such a way as to have a «space for negotiations» if they believe that in order to conclude a deal they will have to give in to something.

If the parties cannot overcome the conflict of interests, then it makes sense to focus on positions acceptable to both parties to the conflict. If the parties are stuck in a positional deadlock, it is worth switching to consideration of the interests of the parties.

You should not focus only on interests or only on pressing issues. A dose of healthy pragmatism is a good antidote to overly straightforward negotiation methods. Always adapt your negotiation methods to circumstances and do not cling to the same method in all situations.

About the specifics of international negotiations

Get used to the idea that you are a foreigner. Moderate national arrogance. Take the place corresponding to the alien in the general order of things.

Organize everything to work with full dedication. Take the change of time zones seriously and go to bed when it's customary in the country where you are.

Find out about the manners and customs of the people with whom you will do business. One way to increase your chances in international negotiations is to master at least the basics of the language your counterparts speak.

Adapt to the rhythm of negotiation familiar to the people with whom you will deal. Do not rush them or yourself. And do not think that they will fuss just because you are in a hurry.


Do not enter into discussions or make any comments about:

  • the policies of the country you came to;
  • her religion;
  • lifestyle;
  • business ethics;
  • racial relationships;
  • legal procedures;
  • constitutional provisions;
  • forms of suffrage;
  • public or private morality;
  • the ubiquity of offerings and bribes;
  • corruption;
  • freedom of the press;
  • human rights.

Treat everyone with whom you have to deal with the deepest personal respect - regardless of whether you like it or not, how the negotiation process is going. Respect for a person in business life is always a gift.

Do everything in your power to ensure the conditions for fulfilling your contract. Each transaction should be both a commitment made by the company as a whole, and your personal business. Your role is not limited to signing a contract. Your participation and interest are necessary after its conclusion.

When deciding how to conduct business abroad - especially in those places where the norms of behavior are rather vague - be guided by how comfortable or uncomfortable you feel, and not what you think is right and what is wrong.

And remember, you can agree on everything!