I’ll admit it: despite being in sales for years, I’ve always felt like I could massively improve in my negotiations. I do have a ‘people pleaser’ aspect to my personality, which works great in the office (getting people to work together and like each other) but feels like a massive shortcoming when negotiating. I picked up this book ‘Give and Take’ which promised fantastic negotiation outcomes by…being nice. Yeah I know. It was tempting. It was a refreshing idea that, maybe you could play the long game–build relationships rather than fight over a chew toy with your clients and partners.
So how does this new ‘Giving’ form of Negotiation really work? It works in the really really long game. The idea is that if you give too much away in a negotiation, your current boss will probably hate you, and you might even get a dressing down, but in the long run all those clients will come back to you, because you helped them succeed.
Beyond the strict ‘negotiation’ scenario, we learned about the worlds best Networker, Adam Rifkin, who sounds like the warm cuddly egoless man you’ve always wanted to be. People talk about him like the Godfather, but he’s not. He’s just a super generous guy: he’s generous with his time, he’s generous with his contacts, and with enough 5 minute ‘help’ moments, he has built an enormous fan base, that, without hesitation, would recommend him for a job, or help him move, whichever comes first. The world needs people like this Adam guy, who proves, that, corny as it sounds, you can be extremely successful by being a good guy. He’s the anti-shark. The opposite of Gordon Gekko. He’s the Lovecat.
Give and Take highlights case study after case study which show that if your company has a policy of ‘enforced’ generosity or enforced charity, it doesn’t really stick. What customers and partners really respond to is genuine generosity and genuine attention. As they say, the soft stuff is the hard stuff. At the end of the day, Give and Take is really about the decision to be positive versus being negative.
An optimistic, positive person can have a fast/slow/greedy/generous negotiation. So can a pessimistic or negative person. The difference is that the optimistic person, in every fibre of his being, is attracting good people to him each and every day, and the negative person is repelling them. The positive generous person (or ‘negotiator’ if you will) is growing his fan base with each and every interaction, while the negative guy (or ‘shark’) is constantly having to replace those in his network that won’t take his calls anymore.
Givers don’t have to screw the other guy, because they’ve got so much abundance, they can share the wealth. Takers have to fight and scratch for every cent because there might not be another deal coming in for a while (and their network is eroding by the day). In that light, I’d rather be the nice guy. That’s playing the long game. And it sounds like a great idea.
If you want to find out how to send your positivity through the ceiling, check out the 10 day Positivity Challenge.
To read more about how to be a Lovecat, check out Tim Sander’s classic, “Love is the Killer App“.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, hit me up on Twitter.