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Priceless Negotiation Wisdom, with Marty Latz, Episode #113

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One of the most plentiful commodities available to anyone who wants to learn is the wisdom of others in our field. As negotiators, we need to avail ourselves of this amazing resource every chance we get. This episode is filled with pearls of negotiation wisdom from my friend, the one and only Marty Latz.

You’re going to hear Marty’s personal and career negotiating successes as well as some situations that didn’t go well. He has some fantastic insights into the key skills every negotiator needs to master, the things people miss in personal and professional negotiations most often, and why preparation (in a variety of ways) is so vital to a successful outcome. Marty shares principles of negotiation wisdom you’ll want to remember, so take notes on this one.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] Marty’s invitation to the show after a controversial previous engagement
  • [2:34] Teaching and training business professionals and lawyers
  • [3:32] The things most people miss in personal negotiations
  • [13:39] A failure in preparation precipitated all of Marty’s worst negotiations
  • [22:01] Advice from Marty for all negotiators

Anytime two people are working toward an agreement of any kind, it’s a negotiation

Marty makes the point that anytime two people are working together to reach an agreement, it’s a negotiation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal or professional relationship. In fact, the principles we use in our careers as professional negotiators can be used effectively in our personal interactions too.

Things like first impressions, initial comments, and first interactions all set the stage for the agreements we make with people later on in the relationship. Keep in mind that you are “on” from the moment you meet another person. Marty was asked what people miss most in personal negotiation settings and he said it’s the same in both business and personal interactions: We fail to deeply listen to what the other party has to say. Through a very interesting story from his own training, Marty shares how he learned that negotiation is more about listening, asking questions, and trying to understand than it is trying to convince or persuade the other person. This section alone is worth your time.

Do you know what it means to explore the interests of others?

Building on the idea that we need to learn the skill of deep listening, Marty points out that we listen for a very specific reason. We want to learn the interests of the other person. I asked him to explain and he said that in negotiations we tend to focus on the position of the other party, but that’s just what’s on the surface. Positions are what the other party wants—which is important. But their interests are WHY they want it.

When you’re able to understand the reasons behind refusals, counter-offers, and more, you’ll be able to discern ways to address those concerns effectively, which in turn will enable you to reach their desired outcome while attaining your desired outcome as well. Marty tells a story of one company whose negotiator adamantly rejected an “exclusive rights’ deal, which seemed to bring the negotiation to an end. But with the right questions asked, in the right environment, the negotiator from the other side was able to discover why the company refused and bring the negotiation to a satisfactory conclusion for everyone. Listen to hear how it was accomplished.

Preparation is the missing element in most failed negotiations

Preparation for negotiations should definitely include the facts and details of the situation, including all related correspondence and inquiries to date. But that’s just part of the resources needed to be truly prepared. Marty says that a lack of deep thinking and analysis is one of the most common oversights in negotiation preparation.

A particular area where that oversight is missed is in understanding your own side of the negotiation. It takes time, and sometimes lots of it, to get clear about your own goals in the negotiation. The way Marty says it, “You need to know at the beginning of the process where you want to be at the end of the process.” This piece of negotiation wisdom will serve you well, so take it seriously and put in the time to clearly know your desired outcome.

Negotiation wisdom: You’ll learn more from failures than from successes

None of us wants to fail at the negotiations in which we engage. But we will. It’s part of the way we learn. Yes, we should listen to others who have been down the road ahead of us so we can avoid their mistakes. But when that inevitable day comes that we are the one sitting alone at the negotiation table with our head in our hands because we failed, we can’t let that failure go to waste. Think of it this way: If you just lost a $20M negotiation, you also just purchased a $20M educational opportunity. Make the most of it. Marty says we learn much more from analyzing and understanding our failures than we do from the successes, if we will take the time to learn the negotiation wisdom those failures can teach us. Work hard not to fail. But when you do, learn from it.

This episode contains many more insights and observations from Marty, a master negotiator in his own right. Continue your negotiation education by listening to what he shares.

Resources & People Mentioned

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