Although certainly not applicable in all facets of life, when NO truly means NO, when negotiating a commercial lease, it is my belief that more often than not, a “NO” very well is an invitation to a “YES,” or at least a potential “maybe.” If you believe in the adage “where there is life, there is hope,” and like me prefer to look at the glass as always being 3/4 full, while metaphorically speaking accessorizing yourself on a daily basis with a pair of rose colored glasses tainted with a hint of a little thing called “reality,” you will have a better chance of turning your goals and leasing dreams into a self-fulfilling prophecy!
No offense out there to anyone with the following names, but if you go around life and in your negotiations with a “Negative Nicky, Debbie Downer, doom and gloom” attitude, you will not be successful in the majority of the deals that you negotiate! Part of the art of negotiation, playing off of a song often sang by the Grateful Dead titled “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” is to put yourself in the heart and mind of the person sitting across the table from you, and once you are able to ascertain exactly what makes them hot, and what makes them not, you have created – as the name of the Kevin Costner movie goes, a negotiating “Field of Dreams” for you to relentlessly and passionately make a difference for your client, and consequently at some point in time, your bank account as well.
The NCAA Basketball Championship winning coach Jim Valvano, in his heart warming iconic speech at the very first ESPY awards in 1993 that I was lucky enough to have attended, said in the very different yet appropriate context “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” The foregoing as well as the following additional pearls of wisdom from Mr. Valvano are both inspirational, and at many levels, contain mantras that all professionals should include in their negotiating playbook of life:
- “No matter what business you’re in, you can’t run in place or someone will pass you by. It doesn’t matter how many games you’ve won.”
- You have to have a dream, a goal. And you have to be willing to work for it.”
- “There are 86,400 seconds in a day. It’s up to you to decide what to do with them.”
- “Be a dreamer. If you don’t know how to dream, you’re dead.”
Although I never truly thought I would ever refer to Lady Gaga and Jerry Garcia simultaneously as negotiating muses and allies, when it comes to whether or not you choose to:
- give your adversary only your “Poker Face,”
- get the other party hot by showing him or her what you’ve got, or
- maintain – in keeping with the spirit of Jerry’s song “The Deal”– the mantra of keeping all of your playing hands and negotiations for that matter alive by not letting your deals go south. Depending on your negotiating style and whatever way your pleasure tends, it’s your prerogative as to whether you choose to bluff, knock, call, raise, fold or cash out your negotiating chips!