Negotiation is worthless. Sales is everything.
Why? Because when someone says “yes” to you, you are in the door. Eventually then, you’ll get the girl in bed (or guy, whatever). If you negotiate right at the door, then you might have to walk away and try the next house. That takes time, energy, and still might not work out.
A) I sold my first business for much less than other Internet businesses were going for at the same time. But it was 1998, the Internet was about to go bust, but first all the stocks went up. Many businesses in the same category held out for more and ended up going bust. Even the guys who sold for a lot more, went broke when they didn’t sell their stock.
B) I gave 50% of my second company, Stockpickr, to thestreet.com for no money. Blog posts were written about how bad my deal was. But when someone owns 50% of your business, they care about what happens. They had to buy my company four months later rather than risk someone else owning 50% of it. For companies they only owned 10% of, they gave up on them. I was able to sell about four months before the market peaked. After that, it never would’ve happened. My one employee quit on me because he was so disgusted with the deal I did. [See, How I Sold Stockpickr, Osama Bin Laden, and the Art of Negotiation]
C) I sold my wife Claudia’s car for $1000 less than she wanted to. But now the car was gone. We didn’t have to worry about it. That was worth $1000 to me.
Those cases are really trade offs, which is part of negotiation. It may seem that the guy was lousy in negotiation but it really means to look at big pictures, which every negotiator must know: do not rush into the nitty-gritty without understanding or setting big picture goals. Negotiation is a process, and one has to go above and beyond negotiation table to win.