Meeting MPI Toronto - January/February 2015 - (Page 15)
By David Lavin,
The Lavin Agency
hat is negotiation? The term itself can have
numerous meanings and can be portrayed in
many different ways. According to Wikipedia,
negotiation is "a dialogue between two or
more people or parties intended to reach an understanding,
resolve points of difference, to gain advantage for
an individual or collective, or to craft outcomes to
satisfy various interests." In simple terms, it means creating
a win-win scenario for everybody involved. In theory,
however, things tend to take all kinds of twists and turns.
That said, there is a problem with this title. It makes the
wrong assumption about negotiation. I presume that the
point of any negotiation is to get what you want. The real
secret, though, is to understand what the other person
values. Once that is established, then you decide whether
that value is acceptable to you.
For example, I was once hired as a consultant by a
national chain. They were negotiating with a sports celebrity
through her lawyer for an endorsement deal. The national
chain asked me to put a value on her worth as a celebrity.
To do that, I asked them a lot of questions about their
business, about the impact this endorsement would have,
and what their potential upside was. At no point did I attach
a value to the celebrity. The national chain decided that this
endorsement was worth $100,000 to them. At the meeting,
her lawyer thumped the table, demanded $50,000, and said
this number was non-negotiable. My client pretended to be
shocked, but was instead delighted. They would have paid
double but the lawyer only cared about what he wanted,
not what the company valued. If he had asked the right
questions, his client would have earned $100,000 and the
company would still have been happy with the transaction.
In this scenario, if the value to the company was
$35,000, then the lawyer and his client would have had to
decide whether this was acceptable to them. If they answer
is no, they walk away. But again, what they want is the last
brick in the wall, not the first.
It is always shocking to see that people don't ask
questions. Are they not curious or just intimidated by the
process? It can feel rude to answer a question with another
question, but it is the key to understanding. For example,
I frequently get calls asking, "How much is speaker X?"
Before answering, I always ask my own questions: Why are
you interested? Have you seen them? Who did you have
last year? The reason we ask these questions is that people
often make the wrong assumptions. For example, they want
a political speaker to give a motivational talk or an American
to talk about Canadian politics. Only by understanding what
a meeting planner really wants can we understand whether
this is the right speaker. After all, the audience doesn't want
to hear from the wrong speaker and the speaker doesn't
want to speak to the wrong audience. Reputation is more
important than money.
So, what is the "secret to effective negotiation"? Ask
questions. Only then will you be able to determine the value
of the negotiation and if it is worth doing in order to create a
positive outcome for all involved.
David Lavin is the President and CEO of The Lavin Agency
and can be reached at email@example.com.
www.mpitoronto.org | MEETING * 15
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - January/February 2015
Welcome, New Members!
Discovering Toronto’s Best Kept Secrets – A Venue Guide
Entertainment Trend Forecast 2015
Inside the Chapter: MPI Toronto’s Hidden Gems
Canada’s Hidden Gems: Ready to Welcome and Delight Groups of All Sizes
Hiding in Plain Sight: The New Niagara
Secrets for Effective Negotiation and Getting What You Want
Attendee Engagement – Try Something New!
The Rise of Restaurant-Inspired Events
I Spy MPI
Advertisers’ Index & Advertisers.com
Meeting MPI Toronto - January/February 2015