Chapter 31

Negotiate Like a Lawyer

Everything is negotiable.

—Larry Strauss

Deservedly or not, attorneys have a reputation for being, well, a bit smarmy. One of the reasons my old profession gets kicked around a lot is that they (we) get paid to be the jerk. People love to hate lawyers. . . until they need one. And then, when they do need one, one of the things people expect is that their lawyer will have the negotiation skills necessary to get the best deal possible.

Similarly, having good negotiation skills is vital to small business people because it is something we use every day. Whether it is asking a vendor to lower a price or getting a potential customer to sign on the dotted line, negotiations are part and parcel of small business life. Of course you do not need a lawyer to do the negotiating for you; not only would that be cost-prohibitive, but also it would take some of the fun out of the game. And if you do not see negotiating as a game, then pull up a chair for Lesson No. 1: don't take it too seriously, and most certainly, don't take it personally. Lawyers have a reputation for being good, tough negotiators precisely because they know that the whole thing is about getting the best deal possible, nothing more and nothing personal, thank you very much. It really is a game.

In this chapter, you will be offered a variety of tips, tricks, tactics, and strategies that attorneys employ to help their clients win the game. Some will pertain to you, others will not. Pick and ...

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