How to Negotiate Your Way to Success

The pros reveal the “art of the deal.”



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Last year, Blake Taylor closed a $3.4 million deal he’d thought would be impossible. “I thought it was priced too high at first, but it worked out that we finally got the asking price.” The process took months of soliciting offers and going back and forth with potential buyers. As Taylor, the owner of Synergy Business Brokers in New Rochelle, explains, “The key to that deal was patience. The first few offers were too low, so we had to have stick-to-itiveness.”

You may not be working on multi-million-dollar deals very often, but it’s a given if you’re in business that you negotiate something every day—maybe every hour. Trying to land a contract with a new client? There will probably be some give and take on terms. Proposing to sell your services? Your customer may have a different idea about their worth than you do. Hiring a new employee? Even after the salary is set, there are myriad details that need approval by both of you. Depending on the circumstances, you could also be on the opposite side of every one of those transactions.

“Any time two people come at something with different ideas, negotiation is involved,” says Eric Marks, principal of Business Advisory Services and HR Consulting at Marks Paneth in Tarrytown. Customers, landlords, tenants, vendors, employees, partners—the better your negotiation skills, the stronger and more successful your relationships with them will be. “A successful negotiation is where both parties come away happy,” Taylor says. “They may not be happy with everything, but overall each party got the main things that they wanted.”

Attorney Josh Meyer of Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West, LLC, in White Plains pretty much specializes in negotiation and says it doesn’t have to be painful or antagonistic. In fact, he advises, “You want to create the win-win whenever you can because you want the deal to work for the long term. If you push too much, things can fall apart later.” His firm handles projects such as requests for proposals and lease negotiations for Nassau Coliseum.

So how do you negotiate transactions in which both parties win?