How Do Americans Negotiate?

Americans are some of my favourite people. They’re direct, creative, and most importantly, they believe they can always cut a deal (even when they can’t – most Americans reading this right now are probably saying something like, “You don’t get to tell me that I can’t, I’ll show you!”).

In my experience, styles of negotiation are very regional in America. People on the west coast tend to be laid back and friendly in their approach in negotiation. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re not quick with their thinking. They’re likely 3-5 moves ahead. People on the east coast are VERY direct (try negotiate with a street food vendor in New York) and drive for the deal. They tend to focus on getting the deal done quickly. There’s a quick pace to their negotiating and they get frustrated if they believe you can’t keep up. People in the south (southern Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia) are THE BEST story tellers and can weave stories into negotiations to make them seem more like conversations than negotiations.

But all of them are direct. The direct nature of Americans is likely their best and worst characteristic. They don’t beat around the bush with small talk (unless you’re in the south – where small talk is essential) and generally drive straight to the deal. It’s not uncommon to have someone get frustrated with small talk and say something like, “So are we doing this or what?” Many Americans are all business and don’t display a lot of emotion when they’re negotiating. You likely won’t see many outbursts or dramatic displays of anger when they negotiate and they tend to be calm and focused, except when you talk about football.

The thing I love most about Americans is their belief that a deal is always possible. This belief drives them to look at alternatives and options that many don’t think of. In this way they’re incredibly creative in their deal making ability. They always look for a way to make the deal work.

I do a lot of work in the US, and I love it! You’ll never find more driven, focused, and creative business people.