I Thought The Negotiator’s Handbook Was Just For The Print Industry

Todd Smith, LLC - www.theworkasmeditation.com

I’m not in the printing industry, neither as a print buyer nor as a printer.  So I thought it would be a waste of time to read this book, which is targeted specifically to the printing industry.  But I’ve never been good at negotiation.  I usually just cave in and deal with the loss.  And I’ve never liked that about me.  It makes me feel weak and powerless in situations where important things are on the line.  So I decided to give it a try.

What I found was a really well thought out manual

One that is extremely easy and entertaining to read.  You can tell that Matthew Parker has been thinking about negotiation for a very long time.  And has been doing it day-in and day-out in the print industry for years.

I was surprised at how much I learned

For example, I never would have thought that you need to negotiate on more than one variable at a time.  If we negotiate at all, many of us negotiate using just price alone.  We start out asking way too much and then lower it, and lower it, and lower it.  There’s nothing to stop this slide from a great price to a crappy one that happens so quickly in many negotiations.

But Matthew explains how to avoid this problem really easily.  He shows exactly how to prepare for a negotiation so that you’ve got so many options that you barely have to budge from your ideal price.  And the best part about it, is that he shows you how to do it so that the other party comes out a winner too.  To me, this is a really satisfying way to do business.  One that can build lasting relationships.

And it spills over into everyday life as well

Last night I was at the grocery store and I almost implemented what I learned in the Negotiator’s Handbook.  I say almost because I didn’t.  I chickened out.  But thanks to this book I saw what I could have done.  The store was out of my favorite milk, but they had some expired bottles in back (one day too old).  The expiry date was the same as the bottles in my fridge, and I knew from experience that this milk keeps really well.  So I offered to take the expired bottles.

I didn’t negotiate, but here’s what I thought about doing afterwards

Thanks to this book, for the first time in my life I saw exactly how I could have negotiated.   I could have started out by offering half price for six liters.  They can no longer sell them at all, so that offer should look pretty good to them.  But say they want me to raise my price.  l can counter by saying I’ll take their whole remaining  inventory (nine liters) off of their hands if they’ll honor my price.  This may not work for them because their wholesale price is actually 60% not 50%.  In that case, I’ll agree to the price change, but I’ll make sure they add in a guarantee that I can bring back any bad bottles.  In a few seconds I’m sure we could have come to a favorable agreement for both parties.

My experience reading this book is that it is extremely practical.  I now know how to run a negotiation.  And after playing chicken once, I’m now ready to jump on board and start putting what I learned into action everywhere I have a chance.

Todd Smith, LLC


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