Monday, April 27, 2009

Bad Negotiators Get Deals Killed

I had the rare pleasure today of trying to negotiate with some clueless old pettifogger who had no idea how to negotiate at all. His strategy? Tell us that our concerns were silly nonsense that didn't need to be addressed. In his view, the contract language covered us and our requested additions would be superfluous. He didn't have any issues in principle with what we wanted the contract to do, but his literary sensibilities would have been offended by making the implicit explicit. I killed the deal because of him, and I'm sure his client will be pissed about it. That's what they get for hiring a shitty lawyer.

I even tried to help him negotiate. Hows about we each share with each other what our concerns are, and then we can put our heads together and see if we can work out some language that covers us both? He didn't bite. "I've told you again and again that you don't need any additional language!" Here's a tip for would be negotiators: you don't get to tell the other side what they need. They know what they need.

It's amazing to me how many bad negotiators there are in positions where they have to negotiate. I've worked with general counsels who couldn't negotiate at all and who would only work with redline drafts going back and forth. Most bad negiotiators are grateful to have a skilled individual, even if they're on the other side, to provide some structure and a basis for proceeding. I can't tell you what a joy it is to work with other skilled people and solve probems to get deals done on good terms.

The douche today was not a joy to work with. He wasted everyone's time.

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