Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator Book Review

Jun 18, 2014 -

Book Review: Secrets of Power Negotiating

About the Roger Dawson, Author

Before becoming a full-time speaker and training managers and salespeople from all throughout the world in business negotiations, Roger was the president of one of the largest real estate companies in California. The company had 28 offices and four hundred and forty sales associates with over $400 million in volume a year. His previous business training clients include managers and salespeople from companies like 3M, UnitedHealth Group and Oracle.

What is great about it?
Recently I became interested in buying investment real estate due to current state of the economic cycle. However, I felt like a fish out of water when I began submitting offers on real estate. The seller's agent would come back with counteroffers and after six months and numerous offers submitted, I still did not have a house. My boss also offered me a lateral move in the company. I knew I had to come in with a game plan if I wanted to have a chance at a higher salary. In years previous, I just took what they gave me, which had also been below the market rate. I felt cheated.

Roger's book entitled Secrets of Power Negotiating is not just for salary negotiation or how to get the best price when buying a piece of property. It applicable in just about any business negotiation. He goes through real world examples and leads you to shape a deal that ends up looking like a "win-win" situation for both parties. His emphasis is on negotiating everything you want and still being able to convince the other side they have also won. It's an interesting take on the psychology behind negotiations.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

The Vise is a very effective negotiating Gambit and what it will do for you will amaze you. The Vise Gambit is the simple little expression: "You'll have to do better than that." Here's how Power Negotiators use it: Let's say that you own a small steel company that sells steel products in bulk. You are calling on a fabricating plant where the buyer has listened to your proposal and your pricing structure. You ignored his insistence that he's happy with his present supplier and did a good job of building desire for your product. Finally, the other person says to you, "I'm really happy with our present vendor, but I guess it wouldn't do any harm to have a backup supplier to keep them on their toes. I'll take one carload if you can get the price down to $1.22 per pound."

You respond with the Vise Gambit by calmly saying, "I'm sorry you'll have to do better than that."

An experienced negotiator will automatically respond with the Counter Gambit, which is, "Exactly how much better than that do I have to do?" trying to pin you down to a specific. However, it will amaze you how often inexperienced negotiators will concede a big chunk of their negotiating range simply because you did that.

What's the next thing that you should do, once you've said, "You'll have to do better than that"?
You guessed it. Shut Up! Don't say another word. The other side may just make a concession to you. Salespeople call this the silent close, and they all learn it during the first week that they are in the business. You make your proposal and then shut up. The other person may just say Yes, so it's foolish to say a word until you find out if he or she will or won't.

What is the not so great about it?

Without a doubt, Roger offers a lot of techniques to help in negotiations. For example, 1) asking for more than you expect to get, 2) flinching at proposals, 3) play reluctant, 4) use the "vise technique", 5) reference higher authority, 6) never make a concession unless the other side reciprocates, and 7) tapering down concessions. These are all great techniques that frankly if you aren't aware of will put you at a disadvantage. If you are not aware of these you risk them being used on yourself.

In Secrets of Power Negotiating, there is a section on some grey area negotiating techniques. These are techniques that are usually used by sleazy business or salespersons. I'd stray away from these because they can ultimately burn bridges (break trust) with your business partner, employees, etc.

What is your final recommendation?
While Roger may provide tips and techniques for you to employ in the boardroom, many times it is a lot more difficult to execute than you might think. His examples definitely make it seem as if you already have an idea of what the other side might do. When in fact, in real life that may not always be the case. In any event, he does give you a number of counters depending on what the other side might come back with.

Ultimately, if you are willing to walk away from the deal and the other party needs what  you have to offer more than you need what they can offer, in most cases you will have the upper hand. Be prepared to walk away, many times they might just come back with another offer. I can say from personal experience, I've employed many of Roger Dawson's techniques and have had positive results.

Conclusion: Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator is a recommended read for those who at some point in their career think they will need to engage in negotiations.
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