Negotiating is the foundation of success – whether it is politics, business or even the media, the art of zero-sum negotiation is fast becoming the way to go. Both small-scale business owners and the large businesses are beginning to harness the potentials of skilled negotiation in a bid to maximize profit. When people see the successes that skilled negotiators record in their day to day activities, they want to emulate it. Entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs not only had significant influences on their staff due to his negotiation skills, they also affected the outcome of their business as well as other entrepreneurs. Hence more and more business owners and entrepreneurs strive to pull a “Steve Jobs”.

While some people record a certain percentage of success, there are others with a rather different not so successful story – these are the entrepreneurs that enter negotiations with a one-size-fits-all approach. This practice of seeing negotiations as an act instead of an art is what causes these entrepreneurs to lose out on partnerships and revenue as well.

So, as a business owner, the million dollar question is, “What is the difference between how you negotiate and how Steve Jobs negotiated to amass so much business success?”

This article is the answer to that question. With lots of talk about how and when we should negotiate, it can get pretty confusing to decide what negotiation skills are the deal breakers. Even though you are a seasoned negotiator, some of the things mentioned within this article may slip through the cracks in your negotiation process. Hence for people like you, this could be a gentle reminder to help you brush up your negotiation skills.

Here are 3 most overlooked negotiation skills that every entrepreneur must master for success in business.

Understand the kind of negotiation you are conducting

Tackling negotiations with one-size fits all approach is catastrophic. It is important to note that there are essentially two types of negotiation each entrepreneur is faced with – asset negotiation and relationship negotiation.

With asset negotiation, both parties have little to no intent of working together in future, hence the negotiation is more result centered than process centered. This sort of negotiation often comes off as a win-loss situation. With asset negotiation, both parties see the situation as a zero-sum style negotiation with one person winning and the other losses and since no one wants to lose, this usually leads to an aggressive exchange.


On the other hands, relationship negotiation is more process centered as both parties are intent on continually working together. Relationship negotiation is much more dynamic than asset negotiation because while the goal is to make a profit, from time to time, each party must make sacrifices.

As an entrepreneur, your ability to recognize which situation is goal centered or process centered is what makes you stand out. The key is to be dynamic in every negotiation. One size does not fit all

Don’t be greedy

Naturally, everyone overestimates the value of their position, product, or contribution in any negotiation. There is, however, a very thin line between overestimation and outright greed and any successful entrepreneur must recognize and curb a greedy approach to negotiating. This is why we encourage process centered negotiations. Fact remains that, the temptation to press the other party for a better deal or to win the negotiation is often strong, and it does take a strong sense of humility and self-awareness to show resistance.


Never gamble with things you cannot afford to lose

Playing hardball with the other party puts you at the risk of losing your client. Keep in mind that while you might think that you are a “tough negotiator”, the other party may share the same views as well thus costing you in the process if they decide to walk away.

If a negotiation is a determining factor in your success as an entrepreneur then it is advised to tread with caution as you negotiate.

In a nutshell, negotiating is not a win-loss situation; it is a win-win situation. When people say “…this is strictly business!” they often forget that the business is conducted with people and this requires people management skills, a clear understanding of what kind of negotiation any negotiation is, as well as the willingness to cut down.

This is what makes the Steve Jobs different from the average Joe.

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