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Negotiation deal killers

Mar 25, 20042 mins
Data Center

* Advice from negotiating coach Jim Camp

Whether you’re trying to recruit a top techie, secure funding for an IT project or hammering out a contract with a vendor, IT leaders are frequently involved in negotiations. To help better prepare for the next one, consider some advice from negotiating coach Jim Camp.

Camp, who has trained hundreds of executives from companies like Motorola, Merrill Lynch and IBM, outlines his negotiating methods in the new book “Start with No!” (Crown Business, $22.95) ( At one time or another, most of us have sabotaged our own negotiating efforts. Camp shares the top 10 deal killers to avoid and what to do instead:

1. Don’t show emotions, such as neediness, desperation or excitement. Keep a poker face and prepare your state of mind ahead of time.

2. Don’t offer a compromise or reveal your position at the start. Once you do this, you’re signaling to your opponent that you’re ready to give something up in order to get to an agreement, before you’re even certain that you have to.

3. Don’t give presentations or dominate the dialogue. This gives your opponent time to form opinions and gain valuable insight into you and your position. Maintain your advantage by sitting back and getting your opponent to spill the beans instead.

4. Don’t waste your time dealing with blockers, who are people who prevent you from meeting with the real leader or decision maker. Diplomatically sidestep these folks to get to the person who can do the deal.

5. Don’t think about closing. Your opponent will sense your neediness and move in for the kill.

6. Don’t try to impress by name-dropping, sucking up or overdressing. An opponent who doesn’t feel threatened is more likely to give up the goods.

7. Don’t try to be friends or worry if the person likes you. This will cloud your decisions and disrupt your position.

8. Don’t show up unprepared. Do your homework before making a phone call, sending an e-mail or attending a meeting.

9. Don’t make assumptions. The way to find out whom you’re really dealing with is to ask lots of questions and get the person talking.

10. Don’t focus on what you want. Help your opponent realize how offering you something will be beneficial to her.