In order to explain NegoLogic and Speakish (environmental influencing) let's use a basic example. You work for a buyer who tells you that he feels comfortable staying below 40 mil. Seller indicated he desires more. I have seen many professional negotiators mentioning two numbers : "We were actually thinking more in the direction of 36 to 37." I leave out the argumentation part, because neither party will be swayed by anything coming from the opposite side of the table. The subject also does not matter at this point. The NegoLogical negotiator will  present documentation with numbers indicating the value is measured by an independent party. <You can always find at least one to suit that purpose.>The number will depend on the actual situation  but it may never be rounded to the million.  If there are no other buyers in a weak market it may turn out to be  35.750 which is more likely to be accepted than 36. Why is that? How can less be more? Because unlike round millions, this number indicates that there has been a calculation. Seller will sense that instantly and is less likely to argue with numbers compared to the buyer's wish to buy cheap. By introducing papers on the negotiation table, you create a non-verbal tool, to read and influence opponents. They may doubt your words, never your actions. And you can totally trust theirs as well.  Do they grab the papers that you have placed in a neutral spot? Or do they push it away? Does it remain in their hands while attempting to gain a better price? <If so, there is no need to give in, no matter what they say.>  Because instead of words, blown into thin air, these papers now represent positions, yours as well as theirs. 

Now enjoy NegoLogic!

Main Entry: Ne-go-Lo-gic

Pronunciation: Ni, gõ, Lä, jik/

Function: Noun-

1: the action or process of Psychological Negotiating

2: subconscious decision making process, changing your opponent's mind from within

3: a particular mode of reasoning that is received as fair and balanced, by means of trading emotions against assets

Peter Frensdorf's


First edition published March 2010

Copyright © 2007-2010 Peter Frensdorf

(Copyright 2007-2009 as The Balancing Act)

ISBN 978-87-993674-0-5

EAN 9788799367405

All rights reserved by the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, implemented in courses or training programmes, orally, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.


By Keld Jensen

Negotiation is without any doubt one of mankind's most important required skills while at the same time being one of the least focused skills in professional management schools. I have spend 11 years being a negotiation advisor and training and worked with thousands of professionals worldwide.

Peter Frensdorf is a skilled and experienced negotiator who has become an author by writing a book on negotiations. He is not an author who accidentally wrote a book on the subject negotiation. And that shows. The book is a collection of experiences and practical tools combined with an insight into the psychology of man.

With NegoLogic Peter has crossed the border where most of us will follow in the coming years, creating a greater understanding that we as human beings are irrational and business should be considered from a behavioral economics perspective rather than – as many are doing today – from a orthodox economics perspective.

If you are in sales or procurement, or just use negotiation as a part of your life, I recommend that you listen to the advises in NegoLogic. It will save your day, make not only you, but also your opponent happier and probably richer at the same time.

I am personally fond of the stories and anecdotes that Peter uses to clearly illustrate his abundance of experience and knowledge.

Keld Jensen, associate professor and managing director of Marketwatch has been recognised as one of the foremost Negotiation experts in Europe.

He has written 16 books on the subject which are selling all over the world. Member of the Financial Times Mastering Business Minds, teaching at CBS EMBA, BMI EMBA, DTU MBA etc.

Introduction to NegoLogic

Can you afford to stay behind?

The last ten years we have seen exiting developments regarding our view on the decision making process. It started as a whisper, and still it is only known to very few of us that we are able to predict other people's thoughts. And if we can indeed foresee, why not direct them?

Commercial Intercourse

Better known by the name negotiating. Surely you have heard of NLP, Priming, or Cold Reading, maybe you have seen some examples on television, in series like "Lie to me" and "The Mentalist" that made you wonder if these polished tricks have a basis of truth. Assuming this, you would not be far off the truth.

In fact, the whole manner by which we make decisions can be analysed and even predicted on a completely new basis. And what is the conclusion? That we are by no means the individuals we think we are. That there are some common denominators, rules of a mental nature that we all react to.

While we like to assume that our every decision is a careful weighing of pro's and cons, in fact the difference between yes and no is often much smaller than we display. And trying to push people around has the opposite effect.

Polarity Response

Dr. Milton L. Erickson, the grandfather of Neuro Linguistic Programming described already in the fifties how people, when pushed into one direction, displayed the urge to go the other way. Their most inner thoughts became transparent; "You cannot make me!" This response is most prominent during negotiations and is one of the cornerstones of the program.


A much newer development regarding our decision making process. It isn't just the details that make us decide, but the manner in which we reach that point. In other words, the human aspect that plays such a large role in NegoLogic.

We do not separate impulses from decisions, yet it is the impulse that often gives us the boost to decide. Because it is not generally accepted that you made an important decision based on an impulse- a hunch- we always need an valid explanation.

This explanation is one of the keys to open the lock to hidden fortunes. The Story2Tell others decides for us. If the story doesn't add up, our decision will also be negative. If the story shows that we emerge as a winner, we are much more likely to agree. What about the deal itself? Isn't money all that matters?

Surprising as it may sound, the answer is no.


Chapter 1.

Standing on the wrong leg

Focus, Elaborate, Solution

The logic behind the deal

If the emotion feels wrong, the deal cannot be right

How to lose negotiations

Behaving exceptional

Understating means strength

Chapter 2.

What is it worth?

Misguided valuations


The "Free" factor

Selling a reason

Bending figures

The hidden meaning behind numbers

Chapter 3.

Humans, not computers

Ego rules

What is already invested?

People in large numbers

High street robbery with satisfied victims

Dealing with closed ears

We only accept a certain doses of one-sided information

before our brains starts producing antiserum

Chapter 4.


Three figures


Separating facts & feelings

Size of their antenna

The hook

Dancing, Chess and Poker

Chapter 5.

The Middleman

What separates you weighs more than what binds you together

Detaching the middleman

Playing the middleman

Using him as buffer

Keep it one-dimensional

Chapter 6.

Negotiation mode

Song & Dance

Two farmers

Changing the deal

We are not selling an outcome, but the reason

Passing the blame

Chapter 7.


Arguments, more is better?

The power of maybe

Carrot and stick

Bogus clause

Prefabricating their decision

Chapter 8.

Driving it home

If it comes easy, it isn't worth having

Unresponsive opponents

Virtual expenses

They do it with mirrors

You weakness is your strength

The deal isn't done before the fat lady signs

Chapter 1

Standing On The Wrong Leg

NegoLogic shines a new light on commercial negotiations by taking advantage of human predictability.

Many revolutionary insights are introduced, as well as evaluating them against some existing systems. That makes this book a most valuable addition to anyone's negotiation skills, no matter how extensive.

In plain wording, NegoLogic explains how to walk the high rope in a most natural equilibrium.

We unveil the logic behind the deal. We learn how to separate impulses from decisions, and why it is more fruitful to plant an impulse inside the head of another person. We change the direction of our argumentation drastically, to trigger the right response from the opposition.

Once this door has been opened, it will become almost second nature to give negotiations exactly what is needed instead of opposing each other in a predictable, and often ineffective manner. But there is more than that. You will not only balance the negotiation, but every single argument, proposal, and objective that you face.

The NegoLogic philosophy is a great asset for anyone who negotiates, because it begins where other methods end, with the human aspect. Our aim is reaching exceptional results in commercial singular negotiations, but aspects can be used for procurement and resolving conflicts as well.

Here is the blueprint for positions throughout NegoLogic, we Focus on the problem or discovery, Elaborate the aspects and bring the Solution. Just like this:

Focus: Why do intelligent people turn into Pavlov's dogs when they negotiate?

Who injected us with the "knowledge" to downgrade the position of the opposing party and blatantly upgrade our own, beyond all facts and reasons?

Elaborate: This "method" is ineffective because we simply stop listening to each other when we do not like the messages that reaches our ears. This predictable attitude only adds to the abyss we naturally have to bridge; our difference in value. Because predictably, buyers want to reach the lowest price, and sellers the highest. We hope to accomplish that by talking negative about what we want to buy, and only positive about what we are selling.

Solution: What would happen if we were able to change that vicious circle – if we could place the money issue on a lower shelf, so it is just a segment of the negotiation, like pride, acknowledgment, and satisfaction?

NegoLogic establishes us as extremely reliable, painfully honest – to the point of neutral – deal makers. We acknowledge both sides of the coin and do not shy away from mentioning negative elements, even though this may seem to "hurt" our own position.

That way we gain an unusual level of trust with our opponents, and our sole remaining disagreement (the price) can be solved by dissecting the value, and putting it back together again in order to fit our purpose.

I must emphasise that it is not our aim to emerge from the negotiation as "the winner", but to get our valuation across.

This must be our only objective.

Introducing this new approach we need to show common denominators of behaviour we all display.

Mistakes that we all make to some extend, every single one of us.

Let's kick this uneven match off with a very stupid question:

"Which tool is imperative to close deals?"

Your most likely answer would be: "Money or assets."

That answer is right- as well as wrong!

Yes, money is a major tool for any negotiator.

But… there is a BIG but.

The real asset is planting the right emotion inside the mind of the opposing party. They must "feel" that the deal we are bringing to the table is too good to miss.

Feel? That is a word we rarely see in any negotiation book!

Focus: We are misguided into believing that money is all that matters. Because we have always been told that – like computers – both parties have their bottom line set out in a most rigid manner. The idea is that the other side will only trade with us if they get a deal that satisfies them. Anything in between what they hope- and what they are willing to settle for. And within that margin, we face a brick wall that cannot be moved.

Elaborate: In recent years professionals have been taught that the best way to negotiate is no longer to win, but win-win. Both parties gain in equal proportions, and are therefore satisfied with the outcome.

Give them what they want and they will be happy!

It sounds quite logical.

But is that really the only truth?

If it were, then I would not be able to paint a scene where you get everything you could wish for…

and still be unsatisfied with the outcome!

But this is shockingly easy:

Imagine you want to sell me a boat that is worth 15.000 and start out with your highest asking price of 19.000.

Instead of negotiating, I immediately shake your hand and say; "Sold!" Then I slap your shoulder and thank you over and over again.

Now, how does that make you feel?

Keep in mind that you should be very satisfied, receiving your highest asking price… but I predict that your happiness will not last.

Why? That is the million-dollar question!

You are not happy because….

I made you realise that you started too low.

Suddenly, you "know" (feel, sense) that I was willing to pay even more.

Who put that suggestion into your head?

Well, I triggered it. And if we can direct our opponent's most inner thoughts in this simple manner then we are well on our way to determine the outcome of any negotiation.

I hope that it is clear that this emotion has nothing to do with any reality or value.

It no longer matters what the books or experts say your car is worth, because now you "know" for sure that you have made a mistake. You started too low.

This is a prime example how self centred and vulnerable our thoughts are during dealings. How easy it is for another person to control and direct your thoughts. The events blew knowledge that we otherwise would swear by, straight out of the water!

Solution: Reading this calmly in your easy chair, it's all very clear to you, what really happened was that I accepted too fast. That doesn't mean you would not fall for it when it happens to you. Keep this in mind, that our perception during negotiations becomes blurred. We cannot see the forest for the trees because every single detail of information must pass through our filter.

This filter consists of our deepest hopes and fears. What comes out after this may give us a completely distorted picture. I have helped countless individuals with their negotiations, stumbling around blindfolded. And being unaware of it.

Do you see the seemingly unbreakable relevance – getting your way and therefore being satisfied – shrink away?

We were so sure that we had to give in to your demands in order to satisfy you. But although you received more than you wanted, you are still unhappy with the outcome. This makes no sense and according to our existing knowledge, it should not be possible.

If my answer had been:

"What? No way. Anything over 12.000 is out of the question!" Then, after a harsh negotiation, you had to let it go for 14.500, or 500 less than the value.

Well, you would feel so-so about the deal. But knowing that you made the best of it, you will be able to put the moment aside and move on. And again, I know what goes through your head...

"At least it is sold!"

Which means that your happiness did not depend on the bare outcome but on the feeling that the proceedings left you with. This strange fact is exactly what Neuro Economics is all about.

So the dilemma starts with our deep founded personal involvement, a sometimes confusing mixture of facts and feelings. What we should notice is that our feelings almost always overcome the facts.

There is no mistake in the book that I have not made myself first. We can only get well when we dare to admit that we are ill, and take our medicine.

NegoLogic introduces the term "auction mindset". It means accepting a value based on what someone else thinks it is worth. It triggers a feeling of a safety net if there is another bidder who is willing to pay the almost exact same amount as you. You'll feel that electric impulse of excitement when you beat someone to the punch.


You find yourself at an auction where you spot a table you really like. They start off at 500 and you are bidding against someone else. Both are very persistent. Finally he bids 1000, and you get it for 1050. You won the auction.

In your predictable mind, only the 50 may have been too much.

The other buyer may have escaped from the lunatic asylum, but that idea does not enter our brain. Because it does not suit our Story2Tell. We outsmarted him sounds much better. Meanwhile what really happened was that you based your value on someone else's, a complete stranger. What is more, you assume that this man is an expert when it comes to tables like this one- and he happens to think the same about you!

In fact you are both lost.

Let's imagine the same item without buyers, because the poor man failed to clear the gate of the madhouse. Then you'll get that table for 500, the opening bid. But now the whole 500 is at risk of being too much. Because nobody else wanted it, so maybe it's worthless?

That means you were happy to pay 1050 and seriously doubting 500. Same item, with same value. All that was different were the circumstances.

This is the reason that we can change values during negotiations, because it can be so easy to predict what people will think in certain situations.

Perhaps this is the basis of all revelations of NegoLogic:

If the emotion feels wrong, the deal cannot be right.

Your opponent is feeling corrected by "the facts" as he gets to see them during the proceedings.

We can make good use of this discovery.

Allow him to choose between a slightly disappointing result that he can live with, or seemingly no deal at all. Being confronted with what he already has invested and now stands to lose. He will be taken to the point to reconsider what really is the lowest he can accept or the highest he can live with. He finds out that his first numbers were far too optimistic so he must correct them in order to conclude the deal.

This forced reconsideration can happen to anyone, and it has not happened to me often enough in my practice. That tells me that the level of opposition I have met over the years, many of which were highly educated businessmen, lacked the most basic negotiation skills to push me beyond the point that I assumed as my limit.

When facing decent opposition, his position must be thoroughly tested whenever there is serious money to be gained.

This natural concept demands from whoever you are facing that he must reconsider his position. Not by force, but because of reason, coming from within.

To him this makes perfect sense because it seems fair, and the final result appears to be in total equilibrium. He is satisfied with a lesser result. More than he would have been otherwise.

Which one of us doesn't trust his own gut feeling?

NegoLogic is about exchanging values with feelings, trading assets against emotions. With both examples, you have seen that the same person in different situations is liable to accept different prices; more than the highest or less than the lowest.

The worst result satisfied him, but the best didn't.

That person is you, me and everyone on the planet.

Because we are all human and guilty of predictability.

The sentence is a cash fine!

Our thoughts can be steered like a remote car, but it is not all bad news. It enables us to answer a major question correctly.

Which tool is imperative to close deals?

The answer: Triggering the right emotions in another person.

Fact 1: Satisfaction can be triggered by

other aspects than money alone

That is because of human behaviour, the missing link during commercial negotiations. We are so predictable when we barter, that our emotions and decisions can be directed by an exact sequence of events. This is not always as easy as in the first examples, but brings unexpected rewards that we cannot accomplish in any other manner.

We cannot win every negotiation, but we can improve the status quo. Change a loss into a draw, and a draw into a win. And a winning situation into more than we can imagine in our wildest dreams.

Focus: Why are we so vulnerable?

Before you meet the opposite side, you are completely in the dark. What is their position regarding the upcoming negotiation? What are their demands? Will they be reasonable or impossible? Maybe they are totally hooked on closing the deal with you?

Elaborate: There is no way of knowing, so you will feel blindfolded. All we know is that the other side opposes you. And when they start pushing you in any direction, it is only a matter of time before you will lean the other way. Because you sure-as-bleep do not want to fall over in the direction of their choice.

Solution: So this leaning against the direction that you are being pushed, this is a prediction that will – at one time or another – come true.

Can you see the importance of this promise?

When you are the one doing the pushing, you will be able to direct their train of thoughts! Just by pushing the other way.

Does that sound like magic?

This is just the beginning of NegoLogic.

Will we be able to WIN the negotiation?

Focus: Hanging on to the word winning

What shall it be, winning or losing?

Even before the proceedings have started, we fully intend to win every negotiation, regardless of position, proof or arguments.

Because humans like to win. Winning feels good.

Losers… well, they are losers.

Elaborate: But what winning exactly entails is not always so easy to determine when it comes to a subject as diverse and fragmented as a commercial negotiation can become.

And should become! Because we need to find the exact right level of complications on our path to signing on the dotted line. A negotiation may not be too confusing, nor too easy. We will come back to this aspect later.

We confuse our person with our position, and get insulted when one is attacked, because then we are both under fire.

The outcome of many negotiations will be described by both negotiators as follows:

"I have reached the best result possible, given the circumstances."

Here are those circumstances again. Because what are they?

The reality of new facts being revealed, the brick wall or final stand of your opponent. He will not go beyond that point without perfectly good reasons. Before the proceedings start, these are unknown factors.

What makes someone feel like a winner?

Usually, just two points.

  • After a balanced give and take bartering, the individual who gets his last concession accepted is often regarded to have "won".

  • The person who gets acknowledgement from his opponent feels like a winner too. You must crown your adversary as victorious, "You've reached this result because of your brilliant strategies." Or words to that effect, suitable to the true situation. Praise is free and we must be generous with emotions.

Bearing in mind that the last concession is usually of minor importance, you probably can guess where I am heading.

Solution: Yes, I want you to lose every negotiation!

But let's call that what it really means:

Allowing your opponent to win, because you settle for the money.

Because if winning is a state of mind that can be triggered by the attitude of the "loser", it is meaningless, and the counterpart is more than welcome to the glory.

There are also practical reasons to be generous, because what good is it to get your way if the deal fails to go through?

You increase that risk when gloating over a victory.

Our sole aim is to change our opponent's mind regarding the value of whatever we are buying or selling...

Change our opponent's mind of what the value is.

There is his value and yours… and the gap in between, which you need to bridge. But there is no need if your value is basically accepted by him.

And here is a truth that saves us a lot of time, effort, and aggravation.

Fact 2: You can never change anyone's mind by

an abundance of arguments

What? That is exactly what we were planning to do! If we speak long enough, loud enough, repeat it enough, then they will see it our way. Now you're telling me that this will not work?

That is right! A huge percentage of the information that reaches our ears does not register when we do not like the message.

So changing anyone's mind must come from within. He acts out of his own "free will". At least that is what we need him to think.

An impulse that feels right to him, but has been in fact triggered by you. For this to happen, you need to gain direct access to his brain, unknown to him, via a back entrance.

Map to the treasures

NegoLogic is not a cookbook; "take fifty grams of smart, mix it with an ounce of daring, and add a fine-chopped calculated risk…."

There will be certain paths to follow, but you must decide what size steps to take and which boots to wear because every situation and opponent is different. Your personality plays a role as well, because NegoLogic only works naturally, without forcing yourself.

No matter who you find yourself up against, NegoLogic will become a natural part of you so it can be used in all kinds of negotiations against a wide variety of opposition.

Focus: Faking financial climax

Elaborate: We misrepresent our opening position on purpose, based on first impressions of the situation and the person in question. The weaker he seems, the higher we portrait the difference between us.

Solution: We may be the nicest and most honest people otherwise, but during negotiations we lie, or avoid telling the whole truth. This is not only likely, it is expected of us, otherwise we have not tried hard enough to win the Battle of the Buck.

This strange folklore tells us to misrepresent our real position in a frail and unrealistic hope to fool the other party.


Joe wants to sell his property and Bill is interested. The perfect beginning of any negotiation. Then they start dancing around the issue. Who will come with the first number?

Why is that so important? The idea behind this hesitation is that the other one might surprise us pleasantly. For instance, Joe is wishing Bill would start with three million while Bill himself does not want to risk losing the chance that maybe Joe wants to sell for just two. For that reason both appear reluctant to open fire.

When this situation becomes unbearable, one of them will start the proceedings. You guessed already that the true value of the building is around 2.5 but both want to reserve a buffer. So they will start higher - 3 - and lower - 2 - than they really have in mind. So there is exactly one million separating the parties in the faked opening position. The truth is that this amount may be completely made of buffer, and then both have the same price in mind.

If neither shows superior skills they will end up as expected, and after a bit of dancing, strike a deal around 2.5. Time to celebrate! The anti-climax (for the precious few able to tell the difference) is that in fact they have accomplished absolutely nothing, as none of them had to reconsider the price he already had in mind.

During these predictable proceedings the buyer is likely to utter only negatives, while the seller seems blind and deaf for these arguments and only sees the positive sides to the real estate he wants to part with. They need to walk this weird and slightly irritating path in order for both of them to feel that they really tried their best.

By pointing out the windows are in bad shape Bill hopes that Joe will agree with him, and as a result, lower his price. But Joe is thinking that Bill will pay more if he keeps on hearing how nice the new parking lot is. Pigs will fly seven-four-sevens before either of them changes their position on that basis.

Now nobody really listens any more, because they don't like what they are hearing. If neither insults the other too much, they will deal despite their argumentation. Both participants of this farce will give themselves credit for their great accomplishment and repeat the procedure next time.

Focus: Ego rules!

Elaborate: We pretend to everyone, including ourselves that the result is all that matters. This is not the case at all.

Solution: As long as we tried our best, we have a position worth defending. And we haven't made any mistakes as long as these are not openly exposed. The one aspect playing a major role in negotiations, is our precious ego. It is constantly in the way of reaching the best result. Above all, we want to appear smart, tough and capable. We are easily charmed and impressed when we get unexpected messages that sound pleasant to our ear. Here can we find the secret entrance to ford Knox.

Bring on the Variables...

When a deal is really stuck, we look elsewhere to make up the difference. Finding elements that are worth more to one party than to the other, that's called a variable.

If we stick to the same example and suppose that Bill really thinks the windows are so run-down that the building needs new ones. In his head he will deduct the expenses from his price and even when both go beyond their price point, they still cannot come to an agreement.

Because after days of standstill Bill offers 2.2 and Joe goes all the way down to 2.4, they are still 100.000 apart that neither wants to give up. Because Bill (in his mind) adds 300.000 to his 2.2, so his real offer is 2.5.

Suppose Joe's neighbour happens to be a contractor who has new windows in stock that he would like to sell for half price... then a variable has been born and the deal can go through anyway. It all hangs on one thing. Asking why.

If Joe does not ask that all-important question he will never be able to come with the solution that is needed to close the deal. We will return to the vital WHY question later in more detail.

Focus: How does one obtain an outstanding result?

Elaborate: The word to remember is outstanding, you will separate yourself from others, who are satisfied with any result as long as their ego doesn't get crushed in the process.

Solution:To begin with, you, as an individual, must stand out from the crowd. Your person must appear outstanding, because everyone else seems satisfied with a mediocre result.

Tiny subliminal messages can accomplish this because exceptional people act… well, exceptional.

NegoLogic is about convincing the other side to accept your most damaging facts, and they will not take that kind of information from just anyone.

How to behave exceptional.

After shaking hands. Do you want coffee or tea? Start here!

According to our stigma, we separate coffee and tea people. The coffee drinker is more likely to move fast, may act nervous, or even become aggressive. The tea drinker might have heart problems, or wear socks inside his sandals, and smoke pot. True or not, it does not matter. We all have slightly different notions depending on our upbringing and experiences.

Today you may not fit ANY mould

It is important that they cannot place you, because while they are looking, feeling, probing, and weighing every bit of your appearance… they will listen.

So I usually ask for special coffee, maybe double latte decaffeinated, or a certain fruit tea. They do not have it? Hum!

"Then just water please, no ice." Or lots of ice, whatever you feel like. Within reason, be as difficult as you can. I promise that you can manage it.

At this stage they will expect easy answers because you do not want to be any bother, just match the wallpaper, so to say. Most people blatantly disrespect their own wishes when something big – like a major negotiation – is about to start. They might find themselves on hostile ground. While they are picky at home, not here and now. When you display feeling so much at home, the message under the surface is that the proceedings do not worry you in the least. You are busy with your drink.

It shows that you are completely calm and confident of the final outcome. Either with this gathering, or with someone else, you will get/pay what you know it to be worth.

Make sure to dress to fit the image you want to create, but never wear recognizable inexpensive items unless as a joke, like a Mickey Mouse watch in combination with a expensive suit. You may not appear in need of money because this may never seem an issue for you. These are preconceived notions that we have to deal with. We cannot really change this, but we sure can take advantage of what is amiss.

How about the weather?

Seemingly unimportant conversations have their place at the negotiation table as an introduction. It is considered unwise and in some cultures even impolite to just start proceedings. And rightly so. It puts too much importance on the deal instead of on the personal relationship. Even if there isn't one at that point. People will not question on which basis you respect them, even if there is no way they could have earned it yet.

It is also a great way to gain valuable information about the person on the other side of the table. Beforehand- and during breaks is the perfect moment to gain information that seems to have no relevance to the case.

If your opponent is the first to talk about business, this can make him seem more eager, and for that reason you will find them sometimes reluctant to do so. If after a period of small talk the conversation stalls, you may direct it towards your opening statement. It is not really a weakness, and may even be a sign of strength.

Opening statement

Give a short description of who you are and what you are doing, and how you view the current situation. Then let the other side take their turn and listen carefully, while making notes when appropriate.

If at any time during the meeting the air becomes strained or even hostile, you must not allow this to happen. Break it up with a joke or a story, or for coffee. If you do it right, everybody will be grateful for the intermission. Even real anger or aggression can be subdued by lifting the spirit and taking a break. If they are able to hold on to these emotions for too long you may assume they are faked or overacted.

These relaxed situations can be very revealing because the stress is lifted. So I must say something strange… there must be some stress in order for it to be lifted again. People get used to unchanged patterns, too much of anything and they lose attention.

Everyone will carry their own hopes and fears into the negotiation room, using NegoLogic means that you fill up every lack you find.

Are they just laughing and talking, instead of paying attention? Then you may put on the pressure! Paint their worst-case scenario and tell them that they are already halfway there. Force can be a tool, but use it sparingly and with care. You can only pull out your gun once.

If they expect you to talk nervously, become a good listener and ask intelligent questions that are a bit daring to keep their attention focused. Positive posture and eye contact is vital.

Speak slowly and clearly, take slight pauses without boring anyone, just in order to make sure your words are connecting. Talking too fast, breaking off sentences, slurring words, all that is out of the window. Weigh every word; you will see that it calms you down. Prepare and plan beforehand but remain flexible to changes if the situation calls for it. You can never spend too much time contemplating their next move and reasoning behind it.

What comes out of your mouth does not have to be rocket science, but it must make sense and sound perfectly honest. Understate yourself so they will naturally assume you are more than you really are. Does that sound crazy? Crazy as a fox.

Fact 3: Understating means strength

During negotiations, while everyone is boasting and lying to some degree or another, I found that the individuals who downsize their worth make the most powerful impression.

Here is the reason. A man with 100.000 or 250.000 in his bank account is likely to say that he has unlimited funds, because for him it seems like a lot. Meanwhile, a multimillionaire is extremely unlikely to utter such words.

He might reluctantly express that he "has a bit of money", because his worries go to another direction. He doesn't want the word to spread and attract too much attention. That means people asking or even demanding money from him. Most important, he doesn't feel the need to emphasize this fact of his life. Because that is what it is, a fact. The person selling fiction must try harder to convince himself, as well as you. That makes it very easy for us to separate the two, because the one trying his hardest to make an impression is faking it.

So when you really only have a bit of money and you say so, then everyone in business will automatically overestimate your worth.

Can you see why?

And this does not just apply to money, because the same goes for any subject; like experience, travelling, contacts, etc. People who have been "all over the world" have often seen less than the ones who have just "travelled a bit". That makes understating a most powerful tool.

It is like lying, by speaking the truth.

Words from modest people carry more weight because they understate their experience, accomplishments, and assets.

NegoLogic becomes really effective when you mention something impressive and downsize it. The listeners will automatically assume that you are used to much more, because that is the only possible reason.

Hey, what happens now? They are hanging on to your every word!

Why are we earning all this attention, just by acting differently? Because newborn humans are the most helpless among all species.

Focus: Humans are slow learners

It takes us years to stand on our feet, walk, and make ourselves understandable; feats that animals perform in a matter of hours.

Humans do not fare well in new situations, and that is the reason we are so fond of repeating any sequence of predictable movements over and over again.

Elaborate: How do we get through everyday life? By repeating patterns. We get up, shower, dress, brush our teeth, and have breakfast, then go to work.

This is only managed in a swift mode because we follow the same handling in the exact same order. We don't need to stop and think what comes next. Repetition is also comforting for us, and we get upset if that rhythm is disturbed. Often you can witness incredible outbursts of what is expressed as anger, but in reality is despair that comes with feeling out-of-place, out-of-time or out-of-rhythm.

When we cried as babies, our mother made the cradle rock and the repeating movement calmed us down. As adults we shop in chain stores where we already know where everything is. The interior looks pretty much the same for good reasons. Even the smallest difference can make us look foolish, always one of our greatest fears. That is why we prefer Starbucks and Burger King to individual businesses, although they might be better or cheaper. Because in these familiar places we do not need to think, and we cannot get it wrong.

Can you imagine a radio station playing only new songs, or seeing different programs on television every single day? Every time Episode One? No, we, as the audience, want to see the same programming and the same familiar actors returning in other movies. We want to hear our favourite songs; see the same programs and faces, over and over again. That is why celebrities are not allowed to age, and if they do we dump them.

Solution:If repeating is so important for human beings, let's take advantage of the fact. Using their words shows that you have been listening and this is a compliment by itself. Some businessmen are starving for attention from the right source, from someone they respect. See how it all fits together? Because you are exceptional, your opinion matters.

Fact 4: We give people our full attention

before we box them in

Focus: Boxed in

We put people neatly in boxes inside our brain, wherever we think they belong. That means we must observe them well, for limited time only, in order to do so.

Elaborate: No insult intended,this is rather practical.Nobody has time to constantly keep on "placing" individuals. That is too much work and requires thinking – brain activity that is needed elsewhere.

Then we name them: the nerd, the athlete, the sex-bomb, the professor, and so on. We place them in their spot, and that is where they belong from then onwards.

Once people are placed, that is where we want them to stay. This is a pattern to make our lives a whole lot easier.

Examples of such assumptions; all salesmen lie, any good lawyer is a Jew, white men cannot jump, blacks cannot swim, and blonds are stupid.

Does anyone live in a country where inhabitants of the bordering country are not "known" to be: ignorant, unreliable, strange, or slow-witted? We all love these false securities; we need them like we need air, water, and food, because it makes us feel better about who we are.

We certainly cannot get through life if we, on top of all our worries and interests, also need to re-validate these personal "beliefs".

Solution: How to stay outside the box

This means that we can easily put our opponents in unknown territory, just by acting in an unexpected manner. The moment we force them to think, without the luxury of a safety net (past experiences), they are officially in trouble. All their attention goes to that spot. That's how easy this works.

So nobody will be insulted when I say that we all – as a species – are predictable in our actions, and never more than during negotiations.

We are all proud, and must get the better of the deal, or at least be allowed to embrace the illusion.

I have never met a businessman who realised what a lousy negotiator he was; everyone is proud of his negotiation skills, even if there are absolutely none to write home about.

So even when you know nothing about your opponent, you may assume that they will act predictably, trying to sell high and buy low. Pride will rule decisions. They will only mention weaknesses in your case, and strengths in theirs. That is the status quo before NegoLogic hits the market.

Do we deal with people, or robots? We act like we are robots, but carry human flaws that so far have been basically ignored.

Here lies exactly the problem.

Focus:The seller sees only positive aspects, while the buyer dwells on the negative

Elaborate: Despite this, the buyer still wants to own what he does not seem to appreciate, or value correctly. Meanwhile the seller seems to love whatever he wants to part with.

It just does not add up but we keep banging our heads against each other until one of us gives in, and walks away to cure his headache. That is how the argument itself becomes an issue and end up outweighing what really matters, the outcome.

Solution: The last thing we need is making it harder to close a deal. Every word we speak must have a reason behind it, yet this may never show. If the reason is to shift the attention, that is a valid move. But there is no place for counterproductive reasoning.

Picking fruit from the garden of predictability

There are great advantages for the deal makers who are able to determine what the other person will think. So we must make use of any predictability that comes along during negotiations. And there are many.

When I buy something, I rarely like anyone's price. Even if I did I wouldn't admit it. And when selling, I never accept anyone's opening bid. But we must realise that sellers often take their item seriously, even personally.

So what do you accomplish by talking negative?

This is keyword: accomplish. It is a natural result of the decision that the outcome is more important than we are.

All to often we often see people waste those precious moments of first attention. Out of the window, never to return. There is great truth in the saying, 'you can only make a good first impression once…' Because of this "placing" that we do.

From the very beginning we must deliver the right level of mixed messages to keep them guessing and watching, listening. We can only get our message across if they are eager to hear what we have to say.

Chapter 2

What is it worth?

Before we can start negotiating, we must put a value on the object of our affection.

I use that word on purpose because buyers can fall in love with the item they are interested in, as much as sellers with the prospect of a sale. This stands to reason because both parties must be interested in dealing or there would be no basis for any negotiation to take place.

Placing money all the way at the top of the list is a mistake, as we have already shown that it does not belong there. If any one aspect should be placed above everything else, it would most definitely be ego. And our constant fear of making a mistake relates to ego as well.

Pride relates to how we view the proceedings, moreover, how we can explain the result to others. This plays a major role because a position that we cannot defend, we will certainly not accept.

We give some credit to the opening bid of the other party, even if we just use it is as a starting block.

Professional negotiators have been taught to ask: "How did you come to that price?" This is in order to argue with your reasons, but they are likely to respond to your starting position anyway. This is certainly not always necessary.

We will be looking at alternative ways to find out what they really mean. Their words, actions, or lack thereof and the hidden meaning behind their figures can help us gain a superior insight. Knowledge they don't want us to have.

Focus: Misguided valuations

Every value has a blended past and an unsure future. Buyers and sellers seek past performance to make up their mind regarding what is possible.

Elaborate: One day, someone had to be the first to decide a value.

Let's look at the oldest profession on the planet, which, as we are being told, is prostitution*. Imagine the girl looking at her buying costs and expenses, which added up to an exact zero.

This leaves her with the important question:

"How much are they willing to pay?"

And this manner of picking prices still works like a charm.

*This is quite impossible, because the prostitute had to negotiate before she could perform that other service. So without any doubt, the oldest profession is negotiator.

Solution: Contrary to what may suit our purpose, there is not just one value, there are many different ones. And we must find the value we like best, the valuation that supports the result we aim to reach. We have already decided that this is NOT accomplished by talking down that which we want to buy, or overvaluing what we are selling. It is irritating to the other side, it makes them hard of hearing, and it works counter productively.

Fact 5: Refusing to acknowledge obvious strengths

in the other's position means you disqualify

yourself as a fair judge to its value

Focus: One cannot see everything wrong in the eyes of your opponent, yet be justified when you make a bid or counteroffer. If they feel you are in the wrong, so is any amount you come up with because it is based on your wrong assumptions. That fact alone makes it unacceptable.

Elaborate: The subliminal message for them is that YOU, as buyer/seller are the wrong person for them to deal with. There must be others out there. The more convincing you are when you emphasise your strengths and their weaknesses, the less suitable you present yourself.

You will only succeed if they see no other option, and simply have to deal with you. The more pressure you apply on this basis, the more attractive their other options become. They may very well start considering alternatives they discarded earlier. And you made them do that.

That is why during negotiations, there is no such thing as a sure value. It will always depend on circumstances of which your attitude plays a big part.

Solution: The only sure values we know are prices of commodities on the day. Not even one day later, because already then the opinion of the experts differs. Will gold go up or down? What is the future price for oil?

The fact alone that we are negotiating, tells us there are no set values.

Say a certain model Mercedes retails for 60.000. Shop from city to city and see the difference. Now buy or sell an unusual colour, or an older model. Or buy two, three or five at once. Now the value is up in the air. Granted, the dealer paid X. So he doesn't want to lose money. Does that mean he won't, ever? What if he can buy new, more current stock cheaper?

All these angles – as well as countless others - can be used as valid reasons to change values that otherwise seem set.

Fact 6: The market reacts to exposure,

sentiment, and excitement

Focus: Exposure, sentiment & excitement

Elaborate: It is often said that the market decides the value. So let's look closer at that mysterious market… because it reacts to exposure, sentiment and excitement.

Solution: The better the exposure, the more attention we get. And the more attention, the higher the price. This is the sole reason companies advertise, because customers copy each other like sheep, so nothing succeeds like success. But do we realise that two out of three of these decisive aspects are emotional, and only exposure is factional?


How visible is the item, and do people know where it can be bought?

Advertise, advertise, and advertise. Many successful companies have put every cent towards exposure. Put your money in the right places at the right costs, because nobody will know what you offer if you are located on page 512 on Google.


Without the right sentiment, we doubt, even if there is excitement and there has been exposure. Is the sentiment right? That is in our hands. Nearly every aspect of NegoLogic relates to this issue to one or another level.


It's there or not, so you might very well ask; how can anyone spin excitement?

We can successfully trigger this wave of commercial enthusiasm by creating a bottleneck.

The bottleneck

Seven-Eleven is always open.

That might be convenient, but the only real excitement is when they get robbed. And that is not the right kind of excitement.

So when you are selling, you may want to consider closing your door instead of opening it 24/7.

Brokers may have only three interested parties but they try to make sure they meet, by setting the viewing appointments fifteen minutes after each other, and arranging that you stay for half an hour. That means you must wait and expectations are allowed to grow inside you.

That is a bottleneck!

Seeing others who might beat you to it, this makes your heart pound faster. Now you are liable to go beyond your original financial limit. In other words, you are reconsidering the value before the seller has even opened his mouth. Your position has been weakened by the presence of other parties that might be interested too.

Window of opportunity

If we can do everything all the time, why would anyone act right now? When leaving your opponent all the room to decide you also remove the urge for him to do so. You will come over as willing and available. Those can be picked up as dangerous signs of weakness. Seven Eleven is always open for when you are hungry or thirsty, that's your impulse right there. Negotiating for larger amounts means you must make use of every advantage there is. Giving limited chance to deal can be a strong weapon, all too often neglected.

Focus:A flock of individuals

Elaborate: Things would go high wire if you ever admitted: "This is the biggest deal I have ever done…" Can you see why?

If a store is getting only one customer per day, you don't want to be that customer. Nobody does. That means you are wrong, because there is no flock of buyers surrounding you.

We like to think that we are all so unique, but in our brain (where it matters) the single individual is always in the wrong.

The sole customer in the empty store gets these subliminal messages send to the brain. He receives a negative sting that he may defend in the strangest manner. "Weird store...". "I didn't like it there." Because whatever farts our brain makes, we will explain them like it makes perfect sense. Because it comes from us.

Solution: The same way we accept positive messages and they won't need explaining either. When it feels right, very few will doubt their urge to buy... even when the impulse has been planted by your words or actions, or lack thereof.

Closing the door

I built up a successful sportswear company by closing the door five days per week. Competitors were open all the time, so we were not. Sending people away was a signal of such strength that these victims of wrong timing always returned to see what they had been missing. And then they displayed exceptional eagerness. Knowing that this was their chance to buy, they rarely failed to do so. We combined the most powerful of all subliminal messages, we were busy and didn't seem to care, nor need the money.

But my policy had little to do with any real strength, moreover with the image I wanted to create.

I was well aware that we could sell more in two days than others in a whole week. They opened at nine? We kept doors closed until nine-thirty. Then the eager ones who had been driving to reach our industrial area would not drive back home again. No, they would wait that half hour out. So anyone arriving on time would see others lining up to get inside. We saved expenses on personnel and when we were open, we were always busy.

When customers see others buying, they copy them. This had incredible value. Bargain hunters were stacking up clothing and shoes in models and sizes they normally would have turned their backs on. To remain successful, every segment of your image must fit the whole picture. So I instructed personnel to spend limited time with each customer.

The subliminal Story2Tell; "We are so inexpensive that we cannot give you personal treatment for long. We would really like to help you out, but we don't care if you buy or not because we can barely handle it as it is."

H&M, on a busy Saturday. Only two registers open so customers must wait in line. The girls work at a regular but slow-motion pace, like accepting money is computer science. How many customers walk away because the wait is too long? Such extreme minorities play no role to the bottom line result.

Fact 7: People love to hand over their money to the ones who don't seem to need it

Focus:The FREE factor

The reasoning behind giving something away is to sell more. Buy this, get that free.

Elaborate: It really means included, because whatever they give away, it has been calculated in the price. No sane person is fooled into thinking otherwise. A strange phenomenon takes place inside the head of the receiver of the "gift".

As a buying director of one of the leading importers in Europe once said, "Whatever we sell at a mid-price, needs to have a certain quality. Whatever we give away free must be much better than that."

"Free" triggers a direct response. But the boost isn't just positive. We become suspicious regarding the quality. Why must they give this away?

The fact that it must have cost something means we have been paying too much all that time, leading up to this moment.

Which connects with the washing powder, new and improved. Remember last time when we told you it was the best? Well, that was a lie! It's even better now.

A pure positive response to the free gift is much more rare. When something is given away, it triggers us to regard the item as worthless. Why would they give it away otherwise? That makes paying of vital importance when you promote something. Even if the amount is small, the mere fact that they draw their wallet represents the customers wish to own it.

Solution:You may always give a slight taste to wet their appetite. But once you give a full plate away you are asking for a vote of uneatable.

The more you pay for something, the more it must be worth to you. Take for instance this book. When I needed a platform of recognition I emailed the manuscript to several people asking for their opinion and comments. Getting these reactions was like pulling teeth. No time to read, busy with other stuff.

Suddenly it occurred to me it was because they hadn't paid. Once the book started selling and buyers had to take the trouble to pay, then they would also find the time to read it. Now the same material had gained value because the readers had to do something to get it.

Selling a reason

Focus: Explain why you are doing what you do. If it makes sense, the reason adds excitement and credibility to the whole project. With the sportswear company, our story was that we were wholesalers, not retailers at all. We just cleared leftover stock part-time, a minor part of our business. That makes sense.

Elaborate: Always think of a reason why you do what you are doing and even if you think it might be obvious, take the time to explain anyway.

Solution: Certain "reasons" give off an electric signal to the spine of your customers. These always go hand in hand with the Story2Tell.

  • Company needs warehouse space. They must clear exactly what you need. Isn't that lucky?

  • New models arriving. The "old" ones, which are basically the same, must go cheap.

  • Out of business! When someone else loses money this tells you that you are doing the right thing. By buying you are taking advantage.

Fact 8: Allowing expectations to grow gives huge benefits

Focus:Nothing good may come too fast. While you may feel the urge to accommodate the other party quickly, this may not be the best manner.

Elaborate: Fear of losing the deal often puts you in the wrong state of mind. But most fears have no sound basis. You will not lose any serious customer by keeping him waiting a bit longer. Only the curious ones who just want to see (not buy) will refuse to wait or return. Because it simply isn't worth their trouble when their objective is looking. You cannot lose what you never had.

Solution: Someone wants to see the boat you have for sale?

"Next Thursday at a quarter past five, is that okay?"

That way:

  1. Their expectations will be allowed to grow.

  2. You do not seem overly eager, this is always a signal of strength. Just compare that with the person who will come right over to show the boat to you. More often than not, this happy-to-please attitude does not pay.

  3. You get the chance to gather other interested parties together at the same time.

As you can see, it costs nothing and only has advantages.

Fact 9: Nothing succeeds like a proven success

Focus: Our embedded impulse is that if someone else buys it, it must be good. If others are willing to pay that price, it must be the right one. This security increases with the quantity of buyers that surround you.

Elaborate: Just like we shy away from the empty stores, and like to walk the same path as everyone else. Because we cannot all be wrong, can we?

Solution: So when you give the impression that you are doing a lot of business by understating in words, or are able to display real action when it is needed, you will see positive results coming your way.

Fact 10: We ponder over decisions,

but fail to question our impulses

Focus: While we can ponder endlessly over decisions, we often accept our impulses without much, if any, thought

Elaborate: It never enters our mind that the root of these impulses could have been planted by someone else! Whatever comes from us must be safe and can never be mistaken.

Solution: So while an impulse is not a decision by any means, it leads to the exact same basic result – a yes or no. We accept or decline offers on the basis of our decisions or impulses.

The ranking order is just different from what we want to believe because the explanation steers the decision.

Focus:Before every decision comes a thinking session

It would be great if this was always the case, but this sentence is both true and false. Because even when we really contemplate and weigh arguments both pro and con, we invariably do so according to the impulses that we are receiving.

Elaborate: We really decide on a combination of hunches, emotions, past references, facts and feelings. Because of our personal involvement we are not always able to make calculated, well-balanced decisions. Not even on the highest level of business does the impression play no part. The coldest bank director will try to act like a computer and study only the figures. In fact he can only manage that providing he never meets the person in question. Otherwise, that individual will leave some impression that will influence his decision one way or the other.

Details, no matter how small, can play a huge role in our decision making. Even in the most complicated business deals, we weigh the pros and cons in order to decide. When we balance between yes and no, our "gut" feeling will be the deciding factor.

Solution: These impressions and impulses will be explained by us, just like decisions; we just make up some kind of defence afterwards. Rarely anyone admits they "decided" something based on a mere impulse, but don't let that fool you, because it happens all the time.

Professionals seek references. What did a similar item sell for in the past? What did we do last time this happened to us? This is not thinking, all it amounts to is basing one price upon another one. Without past references we are sailing blindfolded over uncharted waters. We are forced to think, to balance without the benefit of a safety net. This is not clearly our strength.

Fact 11: Auction mindset: accepting a value based on what someone else thinks it's worth

Focus: We feel that only the difference between our prices, if any, is at risk of being "wrong"

Elaborate: The Fairy Tale is that fabrication and design costs are the basis for all prices. Plus, you get to pay for shipping, import duty, and profit for the importer, wholesalers, sales reps and the profit of the stores.

There you go!

A great story, but overtaken by the present. It started like that in the Middle Ages perhaps.

Solution: A certain cell phone can be sold for one dollar, or for three hundred, although the production costs are eight. Yes, there are many ifs and buts attached to the lowest price, butmuch of the value is up in the air, more than they want you to believe.

Any item is only worth what customers in large numbers (who know of the existence and location, in other words: reacting to the exposure) are willing to pay for it.

Think this over. The price is accepted or declined by groups of customers. If they decline, we are forced to lower the price.

The decision makers of multinationals who introduce a new product venture a guess what the highest price Joe Public is willing to pay. First the group of eager ones, who are willing to pay top price. When sales calm down, they direct they attention to the next group, the ones who can take it or leave it. Meanwhile, they make a new series for the first group, who always want the latest model. Last to be served are the bargain hunters, who are getting model one when edition three is out. Then the price drop has bottomed out until the item is discontinued.

Fact 12: Prices are not accepted on their merit,

but on presentation

Focus:Getting our prices accepted

Elaborate: We are well aware that some values are indeed accepted without discussion while similar ones are refused.

Solution: The likeliness that any price gets accepted, in order of value of presentation, are:

  • "I WANT!" The spoken word. You are selling broomsticks from your garage. Every time a car stops to ask the price, you yell; "I want five euro!" Not surprisingly, you sell very few. One block away, there is a department store selling the same broomstick for €7.99 by the truckload. Because they have exposure and present the price correctly.

  • "I want!" The handwritten price. This fares a bit better. Now you have a sign with the price on it, made at €4.99 so you lose a cent, but sell a bit more.

  • "I WANT!" The printed price. Better again. Now it looks like you know what you are doing.

  • Print out a poster-size sign and hang it high. Now nobody can reach it anymore. An untouchable price cannot be changed. Nobody bothers to try.

  • Now change that price! Cross it out in red ink: NOW €2.99! What the hell, you only paid $0.35 from China.

  • Now, don't be around to argue the price, and at the sparse moments that you show yourself, have a dumb expression on your face. Wear a T-shirt with BROOMSTICKS 'R US. The message is… there is nobody here that you can debate a price with.

Can you see where this is going?

This is exactly how all major retailers deal with their customers!

Because they know that the easier it is to change a price, the more likely it is that people want to try it.

We are all so susceptible to this kind of mind control that when a sign hangs high, or is laminated with a barcode, we automatically assume the numbers are beyond our power.

Why try and make a fool of ourselves? There is nothing that scares us more, not even overpaying.

The likeliness that we accept proposals are from low to high:

  1. Oral offers.

  2. Written by hand.

  3. Typed.

  4. Printed.

  5. Printed with calculations.

  6. Written in stone, but more practical is: laminated. The information becomes untouchable. Add a bar code, now the logic behind the price is unreadable too.

  7. Printed with valuations from a "neutral" source, with signatures and explanations.

  8. All of the above plus a Story2Tell others. So you can explain why you made such a great deal.

We are likely to discard proposals, regardless of the content:

  • If it comes from people we do not trust.

  • If they seem to have no other basis than the wish to buy cheap or sell expensive.

  • If our opponent has shown no respect for your position, and does not listen to arguments.

  • If we do not believe the offer is firm.

The same principle applies when negotiating. First you set your price, based on your hunch on how much your customers are willing to pay. Check the Internet for proof to support that hunch.

Mind you, if there is only one singular item, like with some real estate, that means you also only need just one buyer to be willing to pay it. Keep that in mind as well as the market situation. Do not get crazy in a slow market either. Because if you start too high, you often end up lower. Because of lacking excitement.

Printed, laminated, and explained

Anyway, you never sit down with a buyer and just mention the price. That could be seen as an act of hostility when there is a large difference. Whatever you gain comes out of his pockets. No, the message must appear neutral, something in your hand that one cannot discard. Not them, but also not you. You are faced with the same results, so how could you act otherwise?

Now you hand him (and anyone he brings along) this impressive folder, and keep one for yourself. The source is now paper, not you who is in danger of opposing him already. Keeping a hostile message (your difference in value) neutral is an important part of NegoLogic which we will return to in more detail.

When selling, inside your folder will be favourable pictures of the property and calculations adding up to your final result. That figure is impersonal, and you cannot insult anyone by producing it. Because it is printed, laminated, and explained, the strongest presentation and the hardest to argue with, in the buyer's brain, it triggers an emotion like it was written in stone, and a stone is hard to break.

When buying it's the very same principle. The folder shows past deals that are being compared. Expected value for the future. Subtracting negatives. The calculations match your conclusions.

And what is the basis? If you look hard enough, you will find some of the best-qualified experts to state the craziest things, so there are always one or two to be found to aid your position. Especially with the Internet, it is easy enough.

I already mentioned commodities like oil and gold. No matter how high or low the price of the day is, you will be able to find a number of experts that state it will go even higher OR lower. If this is the case with commodities, then it goes double for everything on this planet of ours. Still, expert opinions carry weight with everyone, except you.

Take time looking around. Stretch the differences a bit in your favour; here it is allowed. Be a little creative with the facts, compare apples with pears within reason; anything to build your case if you are hard up for proof.

The contents will vary. You cannot create what really isn't there. The point is that the same message will trigger a whole different reaction. Everything in print seems more true than spoken words that are lost into thin air within one split second.


When I wanted to sell my trading company, I found a well-reputed accountants firm to give a valuation. I did not like their first estimation, so we had a meeting during which they explained their basis. I showed where they went wrong, and that way we came to the right numbers.

It is always worth the extra trouble to make an impressive presentation, regardless if you are selling or buying because everything on paper appears more impressive than mere words.

What may you expect after presenting your proof in writing?

It would be wonderful if people would just roll over and surrender, but that is not likely to happen. Expect that they will come with: "Okay, but ours is…" Bigger, better, older, younger, shinier. Be prepared with your counterarguments. Be the first to acknowledge if their statement has merit, as long as you downsize it again. (See Chapter 4, Balancing)

The ultimate result can only be gained if you begin the proceedings by presenting your proof correctly and in the strongest way possible. Then you will see that while they try to argue, there is always gained ground after the dust has settled. They cannot totally ignore your folder. When the dealings take several days, they must bring the folder to their hotel.

Their possession is now ¾ of your argumentation

They might try to return the folder to you. Don't allow that. "No, that's your copy. I have mine right here."

Print their name on the outside because whatever they have in their possession, they are forced to deal with.

Focus:How to read numbers

Is it possible that the prices we are mentioning give away what we are really thinking?

Elaborate:Everything we say and do may show what's on our mind. This is certainly information we don't want them to have. But that is easily said, if numbers really speak, what are they saying?

When making a formal bid, we must separate two objectives, because there is a huge difference between making an opening bid and a firm offer. Any bid must somehow relate to the facts as you present them. If you can use their own figures and bend them towards yours, even better.

Any opening bid must be well considered, because otherwise it might give the wrong message. A "wrong" number can give the impression that you are not really interested, or maybe worse, that you are willing to pay more than your intention is.

A firm offer must be perfectly chosen or their answer will be "no" instead of setting the wheels in motion for any step-by-step haggling.

Keep in mind that the way you read the meaning of numbers must depend on the market situation. It speaks for itself that when buying in a low market, you may deduct more than in a hot seller's market.

Solution: The following are good indications.

Price 109.500

Price 219.500

Price 529.500

The 9.500-29.500 amount seems added to the price as a negotiation buffer, and can be discarded by you before the negotiation even starts. That is how you deal with obvious buffers; just ignore them. Only the remaining amount needs to be considered. It does not mean that you have to pay it. You will come with your own valuation anyway, but it is helpful to consider their train of thoughts so you can relate your arguments accordingly.

Price 49.950

Price 79.995

Price 99.975

A whole different ballgame because there are no buffer deductions visible. But that does not mean that they are not there! They are just not obvious. When a number gives no clear indication, you must use the other NegoLogic methods to sense what the best reachable price is. Maybe they picked a round number and deducted a bit to get the starting price down, where it counts in our head, namely the first number.

They really want 50.000, 80.000 and 100.000. These prices may be dealt with as random numbers, without any good calculation to back it up, unless proven otherwise. Of course, it is possible that they compared and calculated and came up with this round figure, but it is just not likely.

These are good seller's prices because the most powerful numbers to our predictable brains are: 99.95, 999.95, and 9.999,95. Just below the next high number, so we feel the price is 399, while it really is a 400. The first number is a 3 and in our predictable mind that is a completely different range than prices that start with a 4. We can afford a 3 but anything that starts with 4 goes all the way up to 5.

And 5 is really over the budget of the high 3 shoppers. When you are buying this can be used to your advantage, because the low numbers (like 515, 420, 635.000) and rounded prices will appear unattractive and attract less interest compared to the ones priced just below the number. Sellers are usually not aware of this and conclude a lesser interest in the item itself.


The situation: weak market for real estate. I am buying. An asking price of 340.000 meant to me that the sellers were hoping for 300.000. That means that the 40.000 can be discarded and only afterwards, you start taking the real money off. Any number put on the price as a buffer should have no real bearing on the negotiation. They will try to use it as such, just ignore it with a smile.

Another situation: strong market for real estate. I am selling. According to the real estate broker, the house I have to sell is worth just over 500.000 mark. Our asking price becomes 528.000 and we are happy with anything over 500.000. But there are no takers, not even any bids. After a few months we have a meeting with the broker, who is really feeling down. He does not understand what went wrong, because the market was steaming hot.

Seeing his desperation, I order him to take the house off the market. And five months later I take action myself and decide the manner of selling, he just follows my lead. I put the house on the market again like it had never been on offer before. Using the power of introduction (visibility, excitement, and sentiment all into one) the price is now set at 499.995,-. I am hoping to attract several buyers bidding up against each other.

The broker bows to my wishes, but hardly has any faith left. It is now the worst period to sell property, a few weeks before Christmas. As a result, nobody is foolish enough to introduce new property at that moment. So ours receives all attention.

The first viewer makes an offer, the second one is informed of this, and immediately wants to pay the asking price, so does number three. The next week we sell for the highest bid, which is 526.000.

Auction mindset again

Auctioneers know very well that starting lower, especially under the first number, often reaches a higher price in the end. Is it not amazing that in the matter of cold cash, like buying a house, which often needs financing, numbers speak so loud? How is it possible that starting with a 4 instead of a 5 creates such a dramatic effect?

Adding the emotion of excitement to the sale (so many people wanting the same unique item) gives buyers that extra push to go beyond what they would have paid otherwise. They were forced to re-consider and the Story2Tell could not have been any better. Because now they own a house worth fighting for.

Numbers giving a very clear message


The situation: good sellers' market, I'm selling.

My asking price was 4.7 million, but this was a hard property to sell, not suitable for everyone.

We received a written offer:

  • A bid of 3.995.000.

  • Escape clause for financing.

  • Escape clause if the fifteen buyers fail to form a company.

I had to take a time-out to think. Not to accept or decline but regarding the message behind this bid, what was their weird offer telling me?

  1. The number 3.995.000 is not a successful buyer's bid, but a seller's starting price. Adding the last 5000 would have raised their chances tremendously. The mere fact that they did not make such an offer needs to be explained.

  2. They did not get the financing in place before making their offer. One can only demand such deduction if the offer is otherwise firm. No ifs or buts that are outside the seller's control.

  3. There is no excuse for an escape clause like this point. It seemed to be added to protect them in case I would accept and they wanted to back out.

So what is the explanation of their bid?

They had no real intention of buying and were just going through the motions. Because they used so much time, ours and theirs, as well as expenses. They wanted us to say no. Owning the property was a dream that they feared too much to live.

Getting it right:

I would have offered 4.085.000 or 4.165.000.

Why? It relates to the asking price. Because 4.7 means: We are hoping for 4.5 but we will settle for less. If all indications show the seller is eager to sell, you should disregard that wish. You want to buy cheap... then 4…something… would make sense. But 4 and what? Use as many of the numbers in the asking price, or better, higher ones. Just place them differently.

Focus: The problem with bidding round numbers

Elaborate: Why would it matter if our bid is 4 million?

Solution: A round number means that the amount is not considered well, and should be seen as an opening bid. It is unlikely that any comparing or calculation has taken place. In other words, such amount has no basis.

Had they made a firm offer with any odd number above 4 million with a firm deadline, then I would have been forced to accept. As it happened we sold a few months later for a higher amount to a serious buyer.

You don't always need to get the first number right:


Beach house for sale in a negative market. I am buying, the listed price is 400.000.

The first aspect to notice was the round number, possibly showing lack of interest by the broker. So I needed to test if that was true.

Using "the Power of the Unspoken Word", I soon sensed that there was quite a lot of room to negotiate; the owners wanted to sell and preferred a cash deal. So after giving the matter some thought, I decided that even 300.000 was too high. After considering a few alternatives, I made a written firm offer (no financing escape clause) of 265.000.

I gave them three days to accept. Then my offer would be withdrawn.

Why 265? Because 290 did not feel right, neither did 280... but 26 plus 5 is close to 270, and 270 leans more towards 300 than to 250. These numbers show consideration and strength. Because they will wonder, why that exact number? Can anyone be that exact and still be totally wrong? There must be a basis somewhere even if they were not able to see it.

This price also gives them a feeling that it could have been worse. Because whatever is over 250.000 is a gift. They know that I started there in my mind and went upwards. So they are getting 250.000 PLUS 15.000. Not 300.000 minus 35.000 because that distance is too great.

This is how people ponder over decisions to be made within a certain time span. The combination is no coincidence by any means because they must feel in between a rock and a hard place. If they decline, who can be sure the next offer won't be lower? And when it will come?

Further details of this deal can be found in chapter "Middleman". For now, all you should know that my bid was accepted and that means that I picked the exact right number. More would have closed the deal too, of course, but why pay more? I am very certain that anything lower would have been easy to refuse.

I already wrote that a round price can supply you with information they don't want you to have. Maybe irritation, or even anger makes someone say; "Let's make it four hundred grand and be done with it!"

There is either stress or disinterest to be seen between the lines. No matter which one, it is certainly not the right state of mind to get the most out of a deal. In a beginning stage there are no certainties but one of these scenario's are most likely to be correct.

In the above case, the broker set the price at 400.000 and later we found out that he did not like the seller. Otherwise, he would have suggested that 399.500 sounds a lot cheaper but is in fact only 500 less, certainly worth giving up.

The asking price was 400.000. My offer was 265.000. Yes it was very low, based on the market situation and the hook I had; the sellers needed to sell. But they asked for one number (4) and they got three numbers back (265).

So more numbers are always better? Not necessarily, but they are harder to decline if you are even just a bit inclined to accept. Generally speaking and within reason, more numbers show better basis of consideration than less numbers, in this case to validate my option of another house being available for that price.

Rounded prices from a broker must be regarded a sign of disinterest, because it is very unlikely that sellers had a long meeting with advisors, and they calculated, taking into consideration all the pros and cons, and ended up... with a round number!

So whenever you make a proposal, the numbers must not be rounded off.

You must show that extreme consideration has taken place. With business proposals the same rule applies. Now it's not disinterest, but an amount grabbed from the thin air- even worse. It shows without doubt that the price has no basis.

Most people do not really analyse an offer the way I just did, but they are reading the subliminal message behind the numbers anyway and are reacting to it just the same.

We are speaking with figures, so to say.

Chapter 3

Humans, not computers

When the day arrives that computers perform negotiations for us, then you can throw this book away. It's worthless then.

Until that happens, we can all relate to this situation:

A married couple looks at a house they are interested in, and the wife says:

"Oh, look! We can have our baby room here, and did you see how nice the kitchen is?"

The husband pulls her aside: "Be quiet! Do you want them to know we want to buy it?"

Because you may not say anything positive about what you are buying, or anything negative about what you are selling.

What is wrong with that? Only human predictability!

We are hoping that by mentioning negative aspects the seller will miraculously drop his defences Yes! He will value his own object lower, so you will get it at a better price.

How often have you seen that actually work?

Compare that with how often you have seen it backfire, and ended up with agitated, annoyed sellers who would rather deal with anyone but you?

Granted, when people are desperate enough they are liable to accept anything, but even then NegoLogic would give a much better result. How many flies can you catch with vinegar?

I have been among those sellers more times than I care to remember. Picture a monumental building and interested parties saying: "That fireplace is all wrong, and those built-in closets need to go." They were hoping the asking price would collapse under the weight of their comments.

Instead the seller shook his head after they had left: "Those people should buy a brand-new house."

Any offer coming from them would always be too low because they want him to pay for rebuilding that is not only unnecessary, but even an insult to the present owner.

I can only repeat: If you are unable to acknowledge true strengths in the other's position, you disqualify yourself to be a fair judge of its value.

Focus: How much has already been invested?

Elaborate: Before negotiating, parties have gone through some trouble to reach that point. Likely, you have advertised your house (expenses), spent your time on the phone or by emails to give additional information, and set up the viewing. Then you sit and wait for them to arrive.

So you have already invested time and money.

After seeing your house, some people will not be willing to deal, but this person is. So you have a fish in your net, and at this point, it becomes important what he is willing to pay.

While there might be others on this planet who are willing to pay more*, you only have this buyer here now, so you must try to make the most of dealing with him.

*Unfortunately you are not in contact with them. Communication is the problem, you cannot advertise for 150.000 to sell a product that cost 650.000. So you must deal with the result your budget brings.

How far is he willing to go?

That can be either a pleasant surprise or a disappointment, depending on his negotiations skills. Because this is the reality; depending on the circumstances, we are liable to accept either.

We are also likely to accept the first number that he mentions, no matter how ridiculous, as a starting point. Then we move on from there with our first counteroffer.

Solution: Let's recognize this aspect in every situation; how hard has it been for the other party to come to the point of dealing?

As a rule; the harder it has been, the longer it has taken, the higher the expenses, the more willing they are to go beyond the borders of what they would otherwise find reasonable.

Because the alternative is… if they do not deal with you, they have lost the time and money needed to get you to the point of negotiation. It is our job to make them understand this.

This rule goes equally for buyers and sellers.

Did it take six months or six minutes to find this house?

Estimating how much time and money the other party has invested can be a great asset to be used in negotiations. Don't hit anyone over the head with it; just explain the downsides when they don't deal with you, here and now.

Focus:People in large numbers are even easier to convince than one by one

Elaborate:We are all part of a large flock of individuals. We look around and see others acting in a certain way, then it is harder to assume that they are all misguided, even if that is exactly the case.


High Street robbery with satisfied victims

Some years ago, I noticed a store, jam-packed with people on London's Oxford Street. Looking through the window, I saw a man screaming at them. It looked a bit like an auction and yet… something seemed out of place. There was a uniformed guard at the door and nobody was allowed in, but sometimes a person came out. This made me very curious, and when later in the day, the store was open again; I decided to stick around and see what kind of game they were playing.

What followed amazed me. First, a young boy was sitting outside on an carton, stacking some display boxes: CD-players, small TVs, and video recorders. I looked inside the store and it was clear to me they had none of these items in stock, the few boxes they had looked used and empty. The kid was screaming without much conviction: "CD-players, five pounds, TVs, twelve pounds," and so on. People were gathering out on the street and in front of the shop. As more and more listeners surrounded him, he would back up a little and slowly, you found yourself going deeper into the store. Meanwhile, he totally ignored anyone who wanted to give him money and do a deal. Very fishy!

When the store was finally full, the guard slowly and silently closed the doors behind us. Only a few people noticed this. Because by that moment, screamer number two had started. A different presentation, as he was wearing a microphone and stood on a platform behind a high desk. "...and I see some faces that have been here before, you and you! Yeah, you took advantage of me last time, but that's okay. You were happy with what you bought and you want more, so do you! Raise your hands, who wants to buy a CD-player for a tenner?" Some raised their hands but not quick enough to his liking. "Too late! Are you sleeping? When I say raise your hands and you go like this, (he raised his hand very slowly) you're going to miss out. There are no second chances here! Which reminds me of a story...." And he went on and on, we had been there for forty-five minutes and nothing had been sold.

Then he introduced us to their "top salesman". He also wore a microphone and carried a stick with plastic tape around it. He hit the desk hard to keep our attention focused, with almost every sentence. If anyone in the audience wanted to say something or even scream to the person next to him, they would not be able to hear it, as only his voice was audible through the speakers, talking constantly, giving us no moment to think.

"And now we are ready to sell, raise your hands, are you ready to buy?" A lot quicker now, almost everybody raised their hand. "Now stay awake! Who will give me ten pounds for what I have on my mind?" Amazingly, some hands were raised. He picked a young man that was first, according to him: "Give me ten pounds! This is for you." A box with a picture of a mobile TV was handed to him. "The rest of you: TOO LATE! He's got 200 pounds worth for a tenner. Who else wanted one?" Now almost all hands went up. "I warned you, you have to stay awake..." and he went on talking and talking.

Soon we had been there for another thirty minutes. But by now, many hands were raised whenever he wanted, so it was time to make the kill: "So here is what we are going to do, sixty of you will get very lucky and the rest are out of luck because no matter how much you are willing to pay, I will NOT sell 61, so 59 is in, 60 is in, but 61 is out! So: who'll give me 80 pounds for what I have on my mind?" Hands were raised and quickly all raised hands had their eighty pounds replaced by a number from his helpers, while he counted: "…and there is 23 and there is 24 and there is 25...."

Soon, sixty people had received their number and I noticed that two men were taking off with the cash to the bank across the street, while he went on: "And now I will give you another chance to really take advantage of me, who will give me another 40 pounds to add something really special to this fantastic deal?" Not many hands. "Can you hear me?" He ticked his microphone. "Is this thing on? I am giving you a chance to clean up here, I will accept only 10 extra bidders, no sir, you cannot get in if you don't have a number!" After more talk, he was finally able to get ten more hands into the air and they received an extra number for another forty pounds. This money was also taken away as he carefully kept talking until his partners in crime were safe inside the bank building across the street.

"So here is the moment you all have been waiting for, we are getting your bags ready for you, first the lucky ones who have both deals, then the rest. So bring your numbers forward and when I take your numbers, you will receive your bag with your winnings. Now listen carefully: DO NOT OPEN YOUR BAGS! Take them home and open them there. I don't want the people who were afraid to believe me to see what they have been missing. Otherwise, they will all be standing in front of the building at 8 o'clock in the morning, and then we get problems with the fire department, because we only open at ten. We cannot have Oxford Street jam-packed! So keep your bags closed and take them home with you. I want to thank you all for your attention and your trust, and hope to see you again at another of our sales! Thank you, thank you."

A strange silence fell over the room, filled with people carrying garbage bags filled with worthless junk. If you see them more often, you will notice that the young winner is always the same one, a stranded tourist that gets five pounds per trick. All other "happy customers" are just his finger pointing in between two people, both thinking he means the other one.

Raise your hands: who thinks the people who fell for this trick are stupid? Low IQ, you think? You would be surprised. And just as surprised how few of their "customers" actually go to the police. The police told me most people were shy to admit they had fallen for this trick, and it was very hard to proof it was misleading and illegal. Did he not say: "Whatever I have on my mind?" Clearly, screwing them out of their money was on his mind.

Let's analyse what happened here:

  1. They promise impossible deals to get the attention of their customers and lure them inside their shop. We are all greedy and curious…

B) They tire the listeners with two hours of constant screaming, giving them no time to think or talk together.

C) This event shows again that we question our decisions, but not our impulses. They left us no time and the noise prevented it.

D) By letting the listeners raise their hand all the time without anything happening, they feel it is "safe" to do so. Until that one time when it is not.

Solution: What can we learn from this?

That people can be manipulated in larger numbers even easier than one-on-one.

We are so predictable that these gangsters can make a living by fooling us. We can smell something is wrong, but many still fall for it anyway. They may be less intelligent than we are, but the person who designed this scheme has at least some insight in the way the human brain operates.

After having been fooled, we are too proud to admit it. Because the Story2Tell is that you are an idiot.

This is an example that you cannot think about too much. Granted, they would not be able to accomplish it without the overpowering speakers, and the careful use of the closed door. You were allowed to leave, but it was much easier and less embarrassing to stay. Nobody was allowed in after the "sale" had started, because you needed to get the full (in this case spelled: fool) treatment.

Like lemmings, we feel safe following each other over the cliff. I hope you will see this way of criminal mind control only as an interesting example, and nothing more.

The methods in this book are not about cheating people, but about bending values in your direction. And you will be just as surprised as I was that day in London how easy it can be to control people's mind.

Focus: Dealing with closed ears

Elaborate: You want to buy a car and are ready to decide. The salesmen you meet are two different kinds:

  • Salesman A tells you only positive things. According to him, the car simply has nothing negative and he has no competition, you buy his car or no car at all. He talks without end, and pushes you to close the deal. This is the typical car salesman that will make you hard of hearing.

  • Salesman B answers your questions and allows you time alone, but is there when you need him. His answers are mostly positive, but he also points out some negatives. He asks you a few questions and seems to listen to you, he repeats your words, rephrases them. It is clear that the decision to buy has to come from you, but when you show doubt, he comes back with a positive feature of the car, based on what he has heard is important for your decision.

You are likely to stop listening to type A. And you will surely not believe his every word. Because who in his right mind believes a one-sided story? But type B does not come across as a salesman at all. So you listen with more attention, as he seems like a man you can trust. He points out both sides, but the positives somehow outweigh the negatives for you.

With type A, you will seek the best deal and if this is not possible, you'll gladly walk away.

Solution: With type B, you are more likely to listen when he says: "I could give you a lot of nonsense, but the fact is that I really would like to sell you this car. So here is what I can do..." You are much more likely to buy from type B because he is not the typical pushy salesmen. Unexpectedly, he sees both sides of the coin, and gives what seems to be his personal opinion.

Facing a fact

During negotiations, the other side opposes us in every respect.

They are usually sitting opposite us and their wishes and hopes are the exact opposite as well.

So, when during their monologue, they only shine light onto one side of the coin, we will automatically lean the other way.

That is our chosen direction. Except... the choice wasn't ours.

Fact 13: We only accept a certain doses of one-sided

information before our brains starts making antiserum

It is deeply embedded in human nature that positive and negative go together, ying follows yang, black goes with white, and so on.

There are no negatives without positives

So, deep in our heart we know something is not quite right if we only hear positive or negative messages.

It makes us feel uncomfortable, and soon we will automatically fill in the counter-side. In other words, if someone tells you only positive things, you will start getting negative thoughts, and the other way around.

That is becauseit makes perfect and natural sense to do so. It is no surprise that these aggressive salesmen often achieve quite the opposite. They will only sell if their customer is determined to buy.

How much of the same impulses you accept before you start making anti-serum depends very much on your character, intelligence, and your knowledge of the matter, even your mood on the day. But sooner or later, you will balance the other way. And the core of that problem is that these subconscious negative impulses cannot be predicted. And because you'll clam up, they won't be addressed either. The salesman will be left in the dark why your decision is negative.

So there is no countermeasure

In conflict with these natural reactions, we would all like our decisions to be easy and clear-cut, 100% this way or that way.

We resent complicated decisions and always want to be able to explain to ourselves and to others why we decided as we did. Only then can we feel good about a deal. And we are much more likely to close deals that we feel good about.


This is why extreme pressure so often backfires. The victim will become smaller and answers less. To the aggressive seller this is seen as a sign of success, but it isn't.

Cornered, the wounded animal is only looking for means of escape. Once such a pressured person is freed, he will not lean, but run the other way.

"The customer wants to think it over." When forced into a deal, unless a legal binding document prevents it, humans are likely to "change" their mind afterwards, within the safety of their own territory.

Changing someone's mind must always come from within, because of this natural urge.

What is wrong?

When you Google "negotiation" it becomes clear why we think the best negotiators are tough, the two words seem to be connected. The conclusion of those win/lose believers:

"Any tough negotiator is a great one."

We must act like generals, set up traps and schemes while deciding how much artillery is needed to win the Battle for the Buck.

This reminds me of an old expression:

"Those who cannot do… teach!"

Why the pro at your tennis club has never won Wimbledon

During seminars you are being taught by the ones who were unable to make money in the real world using their own teaching principles. Yeah, it takes teachers to learn how to sharpen your arsenal of weapons for the battleground of negotiations. Or maybe not.

Here is a list I burrowed from the Internet. This is what you will learn for a few thousand dollars (non-negotiable):

  1. Obtain objectives.

  2. Gain authority.

  3. Do not expose needs.

  4. Do not eliminate source of power.

  5. Show no weakness.

And so onwards. How predictable! And that is a very dirty word in my book.

According to these methods, our decisions are just the result of calculations; we add up and subtract and the result is our conclusion. Much like a computer would.

The power of NOT fighting

What if we use our brain instead? If you go all out, screaming and yelling you might temporarily scare people. But a after a while the effect is gone and if they are still there, then so is their position. Stronger than before.

About 150 years before Christ there was a Chinese general named Chu-ko Liang who found his city under attack with no army to speak of. The aggressor Ssu-ma was getting his forces ready to start the siege when Chu-ko unlocked the gates for him. After the huge doors had slowly opened all the way, the vision was incredible. A few cleaners were sweeping the street, as if there was no worry in sight. Ssu-ma's army just stood there speechless and wondering what to do. Finally they concluded it must be a trap. Chu-ko must have an army so terrifying that he was not afraid to put himself in such vulnerable position! So they packed up and left.

This is a very human reaction. A huge overpowering force should impress the defenders, but rarely does. Just look at Korea and Vietnam, not to mention more recent failures to subdue weaker opponents.

After using all ammunition, the result is that there is nothing left. Then your opponent starts wondering, "But I'm still here!" That means he was quite right to resist you. He will be even more inclined to stick to his position than ever before.

How does this relate to negotiations? Well, after you make the right impression, you never go all out. Stay reserved and calm. Imply instead of threaten. By keeping the conclusion neutral you will not even appear hostile.

Focus: Make the conclusion a neutral one

Elaborate: You want them to accept your value. But anything that comes from you will be seen as hostile. When you bring the insult to the table you are the one to blame. For instance, the insult is that they want A and you want to pay B. If you tell them your price, they will almost surely fight you all the way.

Solution: Instead of saying, "I want…" you must supply them with documentation that supports your price. Better yet, leads to the conclusion that is your price.

What is the difference?

When you just argue your case without putting a number on it and let them calculate what you mean, it becomes a whole different matter. Have you noticed how many businessmen prefer to use their own calculator? Instead of yours? Do they think that theirs calculates in their favour and yours doesn't? A small thing, but it hides a deeper meaning. Subconsciously we recognise hostile, neutral and friendly articles and locations. Our reactions differ according to circumstances.

Once you let their calculator bring the conclusion, the chances increase they will accept the result the same way they have to accept the weather. So it rains today? What a pity.


I just bought a large handmade Oriental carpet for our office and paid 5500 for it. After it arrives I notice that there is a difference in size, quite a bit more than expected. I emailed the seller as follows:

"We have received the carpet, thanks for the quick delivery. Since we have been looking around for some time and recently bought a smaller handmade carpet, we are well aware that handmade means that differences in size are acceptable up to 1,5/2%. However, here the difference is a lot more, almost 4%. We like the colours as they match the rest of the interior very well. However, to keep the carpet I need a reasonable discount. Let me know what you suggest."

What am I saying here? The first sentence is positive, the second informative and a pre-emptive strike. Because I can easily predict that they would come back with "differences in handmade carpets are to be expected". Now they cannot use that argument anymore. Then we are positive again about the colour, indicating the wish to keep the carpet. Then the bad news, I want a discount! Not knowing their profit margin, I have decided to leave the first offer up to them. If I had a better indication, maybe I would proposed something myself.

A few days later we speak on the phone and after some talk they offered a discount of 300, then 450. I told them I need a much larger discount than that.

"But don't decide now. I will make some pictures so you know what we are talking about."

"Okay, because without pictures, I cannot go higher than 450!"

"That's fair."

I emailed the pictures after making sure that the original packing is seen next to the carpet. The hidden message is*: it is ready to be sent back to you! Since they have made a first and second offer, it is now time for me to say something.

*A visual connection is much stronger than anything you can put into words. When you write "If you don't agree I will return the bloody thing!" they may well doubt if you mean it. Once you show that it is ready to be packed they will accept the same message without question. Only because it is subliminal.

I took a moment to think, I really wanted 1000 discount but that sounds harsh. So I let them do the calculation and I wrote that although 50, 40 or 35% reduction in the price would not be too much, I was willing to keep it if they offered me minimal* 20% discount.

* What are the chances that they will give more than 20%? None, of course. The reason I put it like that is to make them feel they got away with the lowest of their options. Their story2tell; it could have been worse.

This amounts to 1100 but a percentage sounds much less aggressive. Why? Because I paid 5500 and then a whole 1000 as discount for a fault that is basically to be expected….

But 20% sounds more positive, it means that they can keep a 80%, a lion's share compared to the other percentages I mentioned first. To stay away from the big 1000 number I cannot ask for 950 because in this case an uneven number will just make them think too long. So now it's okay to round off numbers, should you need to mention any. Because it is a deduction.

This is the opposite of the situation where you make an proposal that you want them to consider for a longer period. Now you go after a quick yes, the more they think, the more likely it becomes that their answer will be no. And I really want to keep that carpet and get my discount.

So I call them the next day. Because the combination of the email that you can hold in your hand and speaking works very well. They have something to show (Story2Tell their boss) and hear a pleasant voice. While they could expect an angry one.

"What do you think?"

"Some difference is acceptable."

"I am well aware of that, but not this much. I'm in business myself and a normal discount for second quality is fifty percent, sometimes forty or thirty. I only said twenty because we do like the colour"

"So you want to keep the carpet."

"No, I want to send it back. But I will keep it anyway if I get at least 20% discount."

The result is that I received 1100 discount. It was their own friendly calculator that concluded that 20% of 5500 was 1100. Not me! And this is a most important point, that the conclusion is a neutral one instead coming from the party that opposes them.

Focus: The price must directly relate to the subject

Elaborate: One of the three directors of an IT company decided - after reading an early edition of NegoLogic – she wanted my advice regarding the possible takeover of their company. After an informal meeting with the interested party, she recognised the need for a professional negotiator, while her two partners were of the opinion they were doing very well on their own. This is by no means unusual.

She told me that all directors had decided not to mention any asking price during the first meeting, but after some force from the buyer, one of them had done so anyway. This worried me and I asked for the same information as the buyer received in order to study the case.

Here are the details. Turnover average around 40 million over three years, bottom line profit around zero. They sell computers and software B2B and after studying the file I soon conclude that the problem lies with their service & support department. Specialized personnel that deserves decent salaries and are rented out at a profitable hourly rate. That means that the billable hours are not good enough. In other words, the profit they make on labour is eaten up by the fact that there is not enough work generated.

If they had been two or three times larger they would generate profit. Had they been much smaller- also. The unusual fact was that they were too medium. Computers and software give small margins, not enough to support a sixteen people pay day if they are by no means fully occupied with billable work.

The asking price they had mentioned was two million.

I called the director and asked her to gather the other two for a meeting. She warned me that it would be a hard sale, as the others were not interested in spending money on a negotiator. "Convincing them is my work, not yours." was my answer.

Solution: Here is a short version of my presentation:

"So you want to sell your company. I cannot blame you because while you have created a good niche market and make a respectable turnover, you forgot this little aspect called profit." They smiled a bit. I took out my laptop. "Look what I have here. It's new, just bought it a few weeks ago. How long do you think it took me to set up an email address, something you can do in a minute?" Surprised looks all around, where was this going?

"Maybe a week?" suggested one.

I shook my head, "If only! Two and a half weeks. Because my port was 25 and should have been 186 or 11.386. What do I know? It's all Chinese to me. I'm incompetent when it comes to computers. What I am is a negotiator. That is my job. So when I look at what happened between you and your buyer I get the same kind of feeling as you just had about me. Clueless. You have a turnover of 40 million and your asking- wishful thinking price - - is two million. May I ask by which means this price was delivered to the interested party?"

Surprised looks again. "I'm not sure what you mean. By which means?"

"Did you hand him a sheet of paper with the numbers on it?"

"No, we just told him the price."

"Hot air coming from your mouth. Gone in one second. Two million, there, I said it. Was it two I said? Or did I mean one? That is a problem right there. The presentation is wrong. Now the amount. Apart from the fact that it is a round number. Because don't tell me that you calculated all pro's and cons and ended up with a two and six zero's. No, you grabbed the number out of the air. So what goes on in the mind of the buyer? Why 2?, Why not 3? Or 2.5? Every step you take gives a subliminal message and you can speak with numbers. What did two million tell them?"

Surrounded by blank expressions, I gave the answer myself. "Desperation. Because it amounts to three weeks of your turnover."

The financial guy nodded, "That's right. But we went to an accountant firm to ask them what our company is worth. And what was their answer? That it has no value. So it's worthless, what do you say about that?"

"That they are quite right. From an investment point of view, certainly. Your company cannot be sold based on profit performance, but only on potential. When it is added to another company that fills the gaps, those holes leaking cash now. Someone who adds your market share to theirs and puts up the billable hours to a reasonable percentage. Then you could make 12-13, maybe 14% of your turnover in clean profit each year. Had you done so, then your value would be 6, 7 maybe all the way up to 8 or even 10 times the clean profit. But you failed to do so. So from a buyers view, the company is worthless, but who wants to own something that has no value? My conclusion is that it is easier to sell for say, 5.6 than 2 million. Because that could be your potentional yearly profit and the asking price must relate to the figures you present the buyer!"

"That sounds hard to believe..."

"I guess it does. Just like I found it hard to believe being unable to receive and send emails just because my port was 25. But you think too much from your own position and the knowledge that your company has no value, so whatever you get is profit. From my experience you simply cannot sell what is worthless. The message is wrong and then the price is of no consequence anymore. That is what the buyer will think. And how do I know that? Because he was interested, now he will be suspicious, why are they so eager to sell for 2 million? That is what matters, his state of mind. So for me this buyer is not first priority anymore. We must try to find another one to use the power of maybe. MAYBE we have someone else and maybe we don't. Now we approach others who might be interested in buying, knowing that we already have someone that is interested. That the price was wrong is a mistake that is hard to undo, if we happen to end up with him and only him, we will just take it from there and say that all you gave was an indication. But the partners are not in agreement. Besides, did he accept on the spot? I don't think so. That means that you were just making conversation."

It is by no means exceptional that businessmen think they are performing well, while screwing up a case. It shows that it isn't the result that really matters, but their ego. As long as they are not exposed as fools, they think they are doing pretty well.

These people weren't fools at all, because they retained my services the same day.

Fact 14: Behind every demand stands a human being

whose mind is there to be changed

This means that when using NegoLogic, we must always try to face our opponent. More often than not, the exact details cannot be told onwards by a middleman.

NegoLogic requires a certain series of manipulations (a train of thought-changing), and we need to monitor how the message is being received all the time.

We could never accomplish any of this if some sentences did not trigger an automatic response like:

"We are all individuals."

Everyone will agree, but by doing so, we just proved the opposite.

Because who would disagree with that statement? And that is what we need during negotiations, that people will be "forced" to think what we want them to.

What happens when we go into "Negotiation Mode"? Whatever character or personality we normally have, it is out of the window…

Because the result touches us where it hurts; in our wallet and pride.

We are 100% sure of our point of view, and have no ear for anything that is conflicting with that. We become stubborn and extremely predictable because we all have the same "hidden agenda".

We want to receive more money when we are selling, and pay less when we are buying.

Hidden agenda? Not very well hidden, is it?

The fast majority of us are programmed to argue with anyone who disagrees, just like when it comes to our politics, religion, or favourite soccer team. We are right and don't ask why.

And even if you are one of the true individuals we call eccentrics, then you will be aware that all other people's minds are being controlled and manipulated in a variety of ways, every single day. Conscious and subconsciously.

We are all proud, and never more so than during negotiations. We must get the better of the deal, or at least get that feeling. Rest assured that your opponent wants to win the negotiation. But how does he know that he has won?

The Devils Advocate:

"Sorry to barge in here, but are you trying to tell us that we are all sheep and going in the wrong direction? That people can be fooled all the time without being aware of it? I deal with huge companies that work with prognoses, market shares. They won't fall for any of that NegoLoad of rubbish of yours!"

"I don't blame you for thinking that way. It makes sense that if we all know a certain value, then we won't be fooled into believing anything else. That makes me thankful for the financial crisis of 2008, because otherwise my answer would take too many pages. Now my answer is short: Bernie Madoff. Individuals invested in him. Mind you, a person. And not only people did.

When your bank wanted you to invest in their investment funds they would tell you endlessly about their group of specialists, keeping the finger on the pulse of the investment market. The slightest whisper, within seconds, and they would react. In fact they took the money to this nice man, Bernie.

While their own experts could only get half the interest that he offered, they forgot to ask that little NegoLogic question, WHY? And if that answer wasn't making sense, (because, how could it?) his sister HOW?

How was it possible that banks, cities, counties, pension funds and even countries "invested" in one person who knew better than they did, while it was their job to realise that it was absolutely impossible without risk? Not knowing what he did means that the risk was without end, which turned out to be true.

Only one aspect played a major role: EVERYONE ELSE WAS DOING IT. I ask you, is that cattle behaviour or not?

This proofs again that behind every decision stands a person who's mind can be changed if he likes the message enough. Now it is unfortunate that I have to defend NegoLogic, which is a very truthful method by using the example of crooks, but they are the ones making the news. You can relate easier to them than to many reliable businessmen who don't make headlines.

It wasn't a one-time mistake either. In Scandinavia we had our own Madoff case. Stein Bagger's company was crowned "Denmark's best IT-company" by Computer World two years in a row. The second time at the exact moment the house of cards was collapsing. The story was shocking, they leased IBM equipment with lucrative contracts that were quite exceptional, to say the least.

They made a fortune on each contract and banks were jumping over each other to borrow to them. You've guessed it, every single contract was fake. Now the point that is hard to understand is... with ALL the contracts being faked and customers not existing or not aware that their name was misused... was there not one single person in one single bank that took the trouble to pick up one single phone to call one single customer? Or IBM? The answer is no.

And there is the total lack of logic to consider. A company buying hardware to lease it out needs financing, yes. In the beginning! If they really made the kind of profit they claimed, then, after a few years they wouldn't know where to put the money. The only reason they borrowed more and more was to keep their Ponzi scheme alive. Yet nobody wondered about that either. Because they had too much invested in a lie, so they could not afford the truth."

Chapter 4


We earn our opponent's undivided attention by feeding him information that seems overbearingly one-sided, urging his brain to produce antiserum in the shape of positive thoughts that aid our position

Focus: We simply cannot get enough one-sided information when it suits us, especially when it is concerning our politics or religion. Then we won't balance, because there is only one side to the subject, our position is right.

Elaborate: But once you start a negotiation nobody can be sure of the result. The other party might demand the impossible or just give it away, roll over, and surrender.

So even beforehand, we already balance between maybe we can come to a deal, and maybe not. Our starting position can shift in either direction during the proceedings, we might go further than we had imagined, and still get the feeling we gained the utmost result. Or we may not want to deal at all.

That evolution will be our focus.

We do not need to seek a middle solution if we can change those circumstances. The same way we did when you sold me your boat for more than you really wanted and still doubted the deal later.

We will put an abundance of aces up our sleeves, but never attempt to overwhelm the opposition with mere words.

We are aware that they will not listen to hot air! Why?

  • Because they are the opposition. So you oppose each other in every sense of the word. I already pointed out that we fail to acknowledge or value each other's position because you want the exact opposite. Sellers want the highest price, buyers the lowest, and every word they speak is to support that conclusion. Every cent one party surrenders will go into the other's pocket unless we can find some mutual gain.

  • So if you say black, they automatically think white, and vice versa. It is really important to realise that! Any conclusion, any change in position can only come from within. Thanks to NegoLogic's balancing, we are able to steer their emotions. Because we just discovered something valuable that we can build on… the fact that they feel a very strong inclination to go the other way.

This is not strange at all. There is day and night, warm and cold, old and young, ying and yang; simply everything on our planet has its opposite, and one cannot exist without the other.

That is nature, and it is our nature to be aware of that. So leaving out one part of the story, just because you fear it will harm your case, is a fatal mistake.

It works counter productively, it is not only worthless, because it actually works against us.

Solution: Here is a crazy thought! What if you undervalue your own position and overvalue theirs?

Every word that passes your lips would be like honey to a bee!

And there is this to consider; every case has it strength and weaknesses, but maybe these can be divided?

There will be real strengths, obvious weaknesses, some that only seem weak and everything in the middle. You can be sure that your obvious weaknesses will be attacked, and their obvious strengths will be spelled out by them.

There is nothing we can do to avoid that.

Or is there?

Is this – "when I say black, they think white," maybe so reliable… that it could also work when the negative is not real? That by saying something that only sounds negative, we can take advantage anyway?

Hey, I think we might have stumbled onto something here!


Three figures

In order to see what kind of mistakes we have been making so far, let's imagine a market that consists of three figures; a square, a triangle and a circle. We might as well say, a dishwasher, a dryer and a washing machine. Or a car, a plane and a motorbike.

Let's stick to the shapes and say you are negotiating the sale of the circle.

Existing methods tell you to: sell-sell-sell.

So you must convince the buyer that this circle is everything he needs… according to you it is a circle, a square, and also a triangle.

It is just everything!

The problem with this approach is that your buyer knows that this is not true… if not by knowledge, then by instinct. He will not believe you, because you are quite unbelievable.

So what do you accomplish?

That he will stop listening to you. He will not believe anything you tell him after that, because he has heard it all before. He knows exactly what you will say next and does not want to hear any of it. It does not suit his purpose and it is clearly untrue.

Now try something very strange, like telling the truth!

"I want you to know that this shape that I'm selling is only a circle. A pretty nice one, but if you really wanted a square or a triangle, I suggest you look elsewhere!"

This admission creates a wave of involuntary responses in your opponent's mind, via the unguarded backdoor.

  1. When you come with a confession like that, he will listen to your every word because he likes what comes out of your mouth. He does not want to miss anything. What will you say next?Maybe something to aid him in the negotiation, and hurt you.

  2. You are so obviously telling the truth, that from that moment onwards he gets a strong impulse that your view is balanced and fair.

  3. Because of that statement, you are now entitled to say something positive and be believed! Pause one second… then counter your own words. And after a range of this balancing, he will be much more inclined to believe you, also when it does not suit his objectives. Because of all the mental goodwill you have earned.

  4. Instead of arguing, now he feels that you understand and appreciate his position. His pride and self-worth are confirmed. Which makes acceptable in his mind that you might also be right when it comes to value. Because you have been reasonable all along.

  5. Growing inside him is a feeling of special opportunity… I can do business with this man! An exceptional chance to deal with someone who acknowledges "weaknesses" in his own position, this is not likely to happen again any time soon. Everyone else shies away from mentioning anything that might remotely be seen as harmful.

  6. He thinks, "I want a circle, not a triangle or a square!" His existing wish to deal is now cemented, because if he was looking for another shape he would never have contacted you in the first place.

  7. Then you come with your valuation and proof. The bitter pill to take in order to come to business with a personality they really want to deal with. The price does not fit their expectations. But who values the item more fair than you?

Can you see how easy and natural balancing works?

By acting in such an unconventional manner, you have placed yourself outside the box of what was expected, namely acting like an opponent and arguing all the way.


Selling a positive negative

The negative isn't real.


Sharing the details of a positive negative is the essence of NegoLogic's balancing because they will disregard your words, yet give you credit for sharing them. You cannot lose anything, and gain all the benefits from the next example.

Selling an obvious negative

The negative cannot be overseen.

Your car is small/big, your apartment is in the noisy city, your stereo is heavy, huge, small, whatever it really is.

The reason for you to mention these obvious "faults" (more precise, characteristics) is that the other party would not have missed it anyway.

If you are selling a downtown apartment and tell them that at times it might be a bit noisy, you are saying something that sounds negative. But it isn't really. It simply comes with the territory.

Then you slightly understate, pause, and balance.


Your buyer fully expected this "bad" news. But you balance it anyway! So while there has been no damage, you will take credit for mentioning the obvious negative.

Like this:

Ferrari: "A bit expensive to insure."

Down town apartment: "Might take a while before you find a parking spot."

Country house: "The town is a few miles away."


You tried to warn your buyer, safeguard him from a danger he does not fear. That means that you wish him to be well informed, to the point of the risk of losing him as buyer. That's how important honesty is to you, that you would rather lose the deal than give up this part of you. And then you balance it. But you also just emphasized the selling point, it will embed their wish to buy.

Because what they hear is:

"That's right, not everyone can afford a Ferrari."

"The location is down town, just what you were looking for."

"You're far away from the noise!"

That is exactly how you want them to feel. They came this way to buy and your words just make them more eager.

There is something else; while you warn them, you also slightly downsize the issue.

"A bit expensive."

"Might be a problem."

"A few miles away."

See? This combination of phrases creates involuntary responses, all predictable and foolproof. You have given them the reason to downsize the problem.

Balancing creates attention, trust, and most of all; it makes them listen to your every word. You come back with a positive impulse right afterwards, just to be sure that they get the message. You have the right to do that (and get it accepted) because you are so fair in your assessment.

Now you have taken the powder out of their gun. It is obvious that at one time or another they would have used it against you. If the kitchen IS small, that is a real negative. That cannot (should not) be denied.

Having gained their full attention, you could smile: "Of course, if the kitchen was larger, the price would grow with it…right?" Nine times out of ten, they will laugh with you.

There you go! Their major weapon is gone. You recognized the problem and had already based the price on it.

Still, you said something negative so… that gives you the right to say something positive… and be believed.

Like: "Personally, I never found it a problem, a small kitchen. Not with eating out being so good and cheap here. There is this restaurant that is fantastic and quite inexpensive…" Or: "A small kitchen means you clean up more often. I discovered I made more mess in a somewhat larger kitchen."

Selling a real negative that might be overseen

This negative is unclear.


Prepare. They might come up with it, or maybe not. You do not need to mention it, but get ready to acknowledge their feelings when it happens. Instead of the expected contradiction and dreaded arguments.

"Do you think so? Really? I never looked at it that way. I suppose you have a point there. However…"

There is your chance, kick the ball in with your prepared counter. Compare this with denying and having an argument that leads to a disagreement!

You validate their concern, but there is this other side that they might have missed. And there is always one to be found, but this way you will have their ear. Remember that these people want to deal to some extent, or they would not be there, sitting at the negotiation table with you.

Selling a real positive

An ace up your sleeve.


Tune it down. You can blow it only by over announcing, because they will expect an even bigger ace!

But when you present it as "nothing much", the power will simply overwhelm them, and their own positive thoughts will exceed yours, guaranteed. The same people who will not listen when you act predictable will now hear your every word.

What happens when you are buying?

Use the same principle.

Be fair and fearless. Look for their positive points, the ones that are too obvious to miss, and mention them before they can. Should they beat you to it, just acknowledge the truth by downsizing and balancing.


Buying an obvious negative

The negative cannot be overseen.


They expect that you will hit them over the head with it. So don't! If the negative is as clear as the nose on their face they are well aware of it. By NOT mentioning their feared weakness at all, you create that feeling of opportunity again.

You are also directing their thoughts. Did you miss the negative? What chances do they have to ever find someone like that again? Right, about zero. So their wish to deal with you has risen.

Then your bad news, the price you want to pay is in spite of missing the negative, so the next person might very well offer even less. Allow a limited time span to accept your offer. Say if the decline, you will study matters before deciding if you are at all still interested.

The subconscious message is very clear. Only they know that if they allow this to happen, they have lost you forever, because whatever you have missed, will now certainly become exposed.

Buying a positive negative

The negative is not a real one.


Explain that the negative does not bother you personally, but you must remind yourself to think a bit further along the line. Because when it is time for you to sell, it might bother others and that affects the value.

This way you avoid a discussion because you are personally agreeing with them. It's the future buyer who is to blame for the fact that the price needs to be lowered right now. Substantiate your deduction with proof, "I have here an article regarding a similar situation, which I think is a bit overboard, they deduct …%, but on the other hand I cannot totally disregard it either. So here's what I am willing to do!" Hand over the figures and percentages, and let them calculate the result.

Buying a real negative that might be overseen

This negative is unclear.


Imply in that direction and see how they react. Are they becoming nervous? Do they talk faster to move to the next subject? Then they are aware of the problem. If they do no such thing, then you may choose to mention it, wrapped in velvet. Your bid is based on the unclear negative.

If you get the feeling the sellers are aware of the problem you may pretend that you have not noticed anything. Then the next step is to make an offer. For this price you will buy now. If they really want more money, you need a technical rapport. The subliminal message is that your specialists will surely not miss the weakness and inform you. What will happen then? Maybe you won't be interested in buying any more if they allow this to happen.

Buying a real positive

The ace is theirs.


Acknowledge the strength but not without balancing and downsizing. There is a danger here that people overestimate the value so much that you are unable to make them see sense. This may be one of the hardest problems you can face.

Feel carefully if they care whether they sell or not. Their heads may be in the clouds. If you only want to buy for the right price, more often than not you will end up not closing a deal here.


Buying a company, you are confronted with a very positive turnover and profit. Now it is hard to find arguments because what can possibly be negative about that?

Try this approach:

"That is where we are now, the current state of affairs of this company. Credit where it is due, you've made it peak. One problem with peaking is... What comes up, must come down again.

You are doing the right thing, offering it for sale while it is at the highest point, but let's not get overboard. It would be wise to pick the last five (whatever suits your conclusion) years and calculate the average of that result."

This way you are using their own numbers against them, always a strong basis. The tone often does more than logic alone because you will never know exactly what concerns people have. It is for that reason that I sometimes try arguments of persuasion that may sound far-fetched*, just to see if they think there is something in it.

*For the sake of argumentation you may allow yourself some rope if there no stronger arguments available.

Another reason to use argumentation without much solid ground is when you can feel that their willingness is shifting. Then all they need is the reason to say yes. So give the excuse to them.

Balancing in practice:

You are selling a scratched car with a mileage of 35.000.

"I don't want you to miss that there is damage here…see? I don't think it is that expensive to repair. Besides, it is better to have one scratch instead of many small ones all over the car."

They can only agree with that and you have started gaining their trust.

Then counter: "And the mileage is not bad either."

Now they expect to see 50-60.000 or maybe more.

After seeing the meter, they will be most pleasantly surprised… either in words or thoughts. Now you have gained the optimal advantage out of that situation.

So from a balancing aspect, it does not matter if you are buying or selling, the principle remains:

  1. Gain their ear and ultimately their trust by saying what they want to hear.

  2. When they are listening, quickly downsize/upgrade by using positive-negatives.

  3. Let the facts exceed your words.

  4. Bend emotions towards your goal. After pointing out the obvious positives/negatives, they will take your word for the difference.


Always remember your B-D-C.

Balance the info when you present it. Formulate sentences so they have to agree with you.

Downsize your problem slightly, upgrade theirs. Hand them the reasons to say yes.

Counter it after an one second pause. Try using humour to lift the mood.


Selling a blemished car, taking the wind out of their sails

Balance. "I might as well tell you that the car hasn't seen the inside of a garage for any long period of time.

Downsize. "But considering that, it still seems in pretty good shape to me."

PAUSE. Counter. "Come to think of it, how many cars are really parked in a garage? Most people just store their rubbish there!"

Who will disagree with that?

Buying the same car

Balance. "Very nice car, I can live with the scratches, personally."

Upsize. "I realise that the car is not new. Especially when I see that scratch (dent, whatever) there."

PAUSE. Counter. "But I guess it needs a complete paint job. Otherwise there is the risk of rust. Even if brown is my favourite colour."

Selling a noisy house

Balance. "I must admit that we hear the neighbours.."

Downsize. "…Once in a while."

PAUSE. Counter. "But I guess they'll say the same about us. Or are you those silent types that never make any noise at all?"

Your comments sound balanced and fair. This might require a bit of preparing at first, but it will become part of your method because it makes so much sense.

Make it sound like you just thought of it. The principle remains the same even when the circumstances are different. Just prepare your good-news/bad-news arguments beforehand and always start with good news to open their ears.

The order should always be:





And so on.

End with negative OR positive, depending on their facial expressions and actions. Sometimes you may feel really pressured to fall into your old mistakes. Just don't. You are gaining much more ground whenever you balance.

Do not allow emotions to take over, to you, negotiations are just business and nothing more. And only the result counts!

Focus: Facts and feelings

Elaborate: In the heat of a discussion, they can become hard to separate. Which part of the poor state of a building is fact and which is emotional? We all know how dirt and lack of paint can give a negative impression. Strange overbearing colours and smells are all have an influence on how we view matters.

Do we overestimate or underestimate the work and expenses?

Solution: You need to put a number on it. So get a detailed evaluation of the costs and if you don't like the outcome… get a few others.

This is part of your preparations. Just be aware that if you don't, the other party is likely to come up with similar proof that favours their position.

Separate facts from feelings

Facts: Always let the facts correct you favourably, Downsize the advantage to lower expectations. Let their conclusions exceed yours. You will gain the most advantage that way.

Feelings relating to money: This is where you are allowed to take advantage.

Feelings unrelated to money: Be generous. Compliment them into submission.

Downsizing & numbers

As one might expect, this combination works very well. Let's imagine you are calling someone who owes you 3700. Most people will round that amount up because it is owed to them, so more is better, right? They will say:

"You owe me almost four thousand!"

If one thing is sure, it is that we all think from our own perspective, so what goes through his mind is; "Not true, it's only about three and a half." That small difference puts you in the wrong. (In his one-track mind). He knows that he is in the wrong, but so are you. Now downsize:

"You owe me three thousand!"

This makes him think; yeah, in fact it's more. And this makes you reasonable. If he is able to pay anyone, (and it makes little difference to him who) it's now more likely to be you.

Focus: Size of their antenna

Elaborate: Because we will be sending signals all the time, it is important to keep a close eye on how that information is being received.

As a rule, sensitive intelligent people in the right (relaxed) state of mind pick up information faster, so they need less signals than others.

Solution: You should never overdose the signals you are sending; otherwise you are giving the gained advantage away.

Once they suspect that you are playing with their mind, the desired sequence no longer works. So start estimating who you are dealing with, and give the right amount of push, but never more. Watch to see if the dime has dropped. Good, now you know where you stand. In every stage of the proceedings, you must keep this in mind.

It can be a good idea to learn how to read body language to help determine your position. There are so many books written on this subject you can find them at the discount book store, worth the money. Use it carefully in combination with balancing for the utmost result.

For instance, there is no doubt that we feel more at ease with people who copy our stance; this effect is called mirroring. Leaning against the bar, rubbing your chin, crossing your legs, it does not matter what you do, it gives away how you feel. If you do the same, that person will feel a natural bond with you.

You may mirror anyone as long is the stance is not a negative one.

And cease copying sometimes, or initiate a posture of your own and see if it is being picked up.

Although you can copy on purpose, people often copy a stance without realizing that they are doing it. It means; I like you, I want to be like you, so I share your position in the most literary sense.

The same principle counts here as well, once you overdose your opponent, you have gone too far. The danger is more real with body language because it has become such a popular subject.

How can you see the difference if you are being "played" this way or not? Sometimes that can be a tough call to make.

If done well, one could remain in doubt as to who is playing who. But in the end, it doesn't even matter much, because it is like being among very positive people; although you acknowledge the fact, it still rubs off on you anyway. And this mirroring works exactly the same. Both people feel better about each other.

And if you really want to know, go with your gut feeling. I have seen much mirroring and it has often surprised me how long it can continue without anyone seeming to notice it.

Focus: The hook

Elaborate: Every clue you discover regarding your opponent's most secret agenda, can be used as a hook to reel them in. So when you find such a secret, do not use it to show how smart you are, because it is much more effective if they do not know that you are aware of it.

Solution: This hook can be simply anything, and it doesn't matter whether it makes sense to you, as long as it works on them.

Many of these so-so arguments have a dual purpose, to find out what they are really thinking and to put yourself into the right state of mind. For argument's sake, so to say. Don't go crazy, but within limits it is acceptable to be playful in finding the right angle, the hook, because people are different. They might accept certain minor or even unreasonable angles while declining others that make a lot more sense to you.


We know for a fact that in the 1980s Adidas changed ownership. And surprisingly the new owner was a most colourful figure, the Frenchman Bernard Tapie, an autodidact businessman, infamous for buying up companies. Some may argue that his reputation was not up to scratch.

These companies were worthless on paper (usually traded for one franc), because he took over the huge debts as well.

His method of negotiation can only be called whirlwind. With great speed, he unleashed a whole range of emotions on his opponents, optimism, know-how, ignorance, anger, friendship, all this with an abundance of charm thrown in for good measure.

He ran extremely hot and cold; one moment friendly- the next he would explode into anger. The result was that he kept everyone's attention at all times, and most businessmen were simply outmatched and overpowered.

After he owned such a sinking ship he negotiated extreme hard-ball with the creditors. In the manner of: "Do you want some money? Or rather nothing? Because that's what you're getting now." He and his associates could be very persuasive and demanded instant decisions.

That way he made himself a very wealthy man, but the companies he tried to run did not fare just as well. In any case, the rumour was that Tapie had outbid others to buy Adidas by paying less!

And how did he accomplish that?

The majority of the Adidas stock was owned by the ageing sisters of Adi Dassler, founder of Adidas.

These ladies had their lawyers dealing with the negotiation, but Tapie managed to meet with them alone. During their conversation it came up that they were worried about the future. Not for them personally, but for their grandchildren. With prices getting so high, could they even afford to buy Adidas in the future? Wouldn't it be sad if the had to wear cheap clothing and shoes one day? Or worse...Puma?

Bernard Tapie promised them on the spot that as long as he owned Adidas, all grandchildren would be able to get all items from the brand. That clinched the deal and Tapie became the new owner! It speaks for itself that the value of this promise did not measure up against the lower price he paid for the company.

It is by no means surprising that Tapie* was such a successful negotiator. Being such a flamboyant and unusual man he would rely on his impulses, not traditional teaching. It also shows how a different attitude can blow even the most experience businessmen away. Because that was the secret of his success.

*We never met in person but in the 80ties we were both involved in the Wrangler Europe bankruptcy. I negotiated the warehouse stock (on behalf of a third party) with the curator after Tapie had bought the company.

Of course, the ladies were senile, but the story does not surprise me at all. You can find the most extraordinary fears and needs in people. Once you get a hook like their worries for the future, use it. Keep a very open mind, and be flexible. Listen instead of delivering your prepared speech!

It is often said that placing yourself in someone else's position is the hardest thing to do, and that statement is completely true. But we must try, and try harder.

After all, the skills you need to succeed in negotiations are a combination of timing, insight, preparation, and boldness.

Fact 15: Balanced negotiations are a combination

of dancing, chess, and poker


We have recognized now that every negotiation needs a song and dance to match the importance. There needs to be constant contact as well as movement, and a smile now and then, because the proceedings should never become unpleasant for too long.

What tune are they playing? You may allow someone else to lead, or rather, allow them to embrace the illusion they are leading. Stay close together and always in touch, adapt your rhythm, whatever is called for. Push your partner away sometimes, only to pull them back towards you again.


Think ahead and try to contemplate every response your opponent can come up with. But it doesn't stop here.

By staying one move ahead, you leave him no options but to choose the direction you have in mind. That can be done by balancing, using arguments where you let him make the only possible conclusion.


There are two aspects that are most fundamental during negotiations; namely bluffing, and calling when someone else is trying it on you. To do both successfully, one needs insight.

There are signs, "tells" as they call it in poker. Great negotiators listen with their ears and eyes. They smell weaknesses a mile away. The tone people use, the way they sit or stand, their posture, and their eyes; tells are simply everywhere. We have just been too busy with our own position to notice anything sensitive from the other side of the table.

Focus: Giving the negotiation precisely what it lacks belongs to balancing

Elaborate: Do they scream? Are they in a hurry? Refusing to listen?

Solution: Then answer softly and take it easy. If the movement is slowing down, speed it up. No matter what is wrong, you balance it out. This way you will always keep their attention, and the negotiation will go much smoother.

Do not get trapped in joining their game, ever. This takes some self-control because when one person speaks louder and louder, it triggers the same urge in you. This kind of escalation leads to nothing positive, so stay strong and keep to the plan. When events really go along perfectly, never break for anything to keep that atmosphere alive as long as possible.

Focus:Nothing good comes easy

Elaborate: People need to clear some walls in order to feel they have really won something.

Solution: So there must be walls! While negotiations should not be strained for a long period, you will look for boundaries and stretch beyond them. Display a brick wall. Only at the end you will give something up for nothing, otherwise always trade for concessions.

Focus: Avoid distractions

Elaborate: Some people talk forever without getting to the subject, and then everyone's interest is weakened by the time they get started.

Solution: Do not be afraid to kick the negotiation off when the time is ripe. This is by no means a sign of weakness, or being too eager.

I would stay clear of politics or other heavy subjects, but tell a light and funny story that fits the situation somewhat...

In multiple dealings, sometimes the ice needs to be broken and the first deal (or part) is always the hardest. To speed matters up, put segments aside in stacks of yes, maybe, and no. Dwelling over one part and not moving onwards can have a very negative effect. Just put it aside for now and get the first yes in the books.

Then you will find the rest follows much easier. Show your goodwill when it concerns small amounts or concessions. Many of us count wins, not money. So give and take. Just stand firm on larger numbers and give in on the smaller ones. So you take much more than you surrender. This sounds too simple to actually work, but it really does against most opposition.

Write down all progress and go through it with your opponent. If it is one single deal, you still need to make sure that the movement keeps going along, and some progress is made all the time. If not, it might be time for a coffee or lunch break.

Focus: Calculated risks

Elaborate: Actions of a kind that can seem very dangerous or even irresponsible to an outsider. On the other hand, it is unwise to sidetrack an option just because it seems risky.

Solution: Personally, I like taking these risks providing you can put yourself in your opponent's position. Does he have a real choice or does it just seem so? And if your reading has been completely wrong, can you still correct yourself?

Is the answer to either question yes, then you may take this calculated risk- Providing it feels right. Because "feeling right" is often the result of receiving tiny signals, too small to be conscious off. But they are often indications of the actual situation as long as your opponent doesn't use NegoLogic on you.

As long as you never insult anyone you can always bow to an abundance of evidence, and back down any time you wish. If that needs to happen, do so gracefully, giving the credit to your opponent's skills. Your ego has no place at the negotiation table, remember?

After presenting your case, it is their turn. It does not matter who starts it off. The real negotiation begins after you present your position.

Then they come with their counter; so listen, and acknowledge when they make sense. Then balance it with your prepared answers.

What takes place sounds and looks like an unusually fair negotiation. You and them, them and you, both listening and answering. It appears a fair trade-off of arguments, so how can the conclusion be anything else?

In reality, your negatives are not really negative, plus you counter them as well, creating double positives. The proof you supply will wear them down, even if they do not want to admit it with words. That does not matter; look carefully for changes in their position moving towards yours.

Focus: Allow them to fall in love with the result, before it's in the bag

Elaborate: Once outside negotiation mode, we are given time to think and look at the dealings from another viewpoint.

Solution: Especially during those longer and more important negotiations, it is a great help if you allow the opponent to cherish the feeling of the "done deal". Enabling him to fall in love with the result before it's really there, especially overnight, can make people accept the weirdest changes the next day.

And this makes sense. Many times, once the decision is made, the details suddenly become less important because they are so in love with the feeling that it's all over. We must keep in mind that most people secretly dread and fear negotiations. The tougher they act, the more this is true. So when you embed the illusion that they are almost there, and the next day you come with the rest of your demands… they will complain but are liable to accept anyway, if the hook sits deep enough in their flesh.

Can you visualise them last night, having a toast on the good outcome? How relieved they were? Did they call their partner, parents or children to tell them the good news? Well, don't ever fall into that trap! There is nothing accomplished until the deal has been signed, sealed, and delivered.

If you present some finalizing details the next morning, that they would otherwise have declined, the result might surprise you. When they protest, you make sure they understand the consequences in both directions. You have allowed them a taste of sweet victory if they accept your judgement, and the bitter; "Now we have to start all over again with someone else," in case they refuse.

Giving the wrong subliminal message is a careful matter, because we may not lie. There are ways to make sure that your words will almost certainly be misunderstood, like this: "We covered a lot of ground. So I guess we are almost there, all that is left are some smaller details. So what do you say, shall we wrap it up tomorrow?"

What they hear is, "The deal is done." So the next morning you come with your bad news, be prepared that they will argue that you said so yesterday. Repeat your exact words. "I said smaller details, and that is exactly what I have here. We made such great progress yesterday, that while my final requirements are crucial, they are rather small in comparison what we have already accomplished, wouldn't you agree?"

One-track mind

Note the sentence: "…while my final requirements are crucial, they are rather small in comparison what we have already accomplished, wouldn't you agree?"

They are likely to answer positive, because they answer to the last part. Which they are almost forced agree with. Then they are closer to accepting the first part as well.

Because should you ask: "Don't you think that this final requirement is small?" They will disagree with basically the same statement.

EXAMPLE: Balancing in practice

Once I found myself desperate to sell my company. I was fed up of running it myself and had been unable to find good managers to run it for me…

After putting the word out, it took a long time before I finally received a call from a serious buyer. A competitor was interested to set up a meeting. We picked a date and time after the next weekend, and he arrived together with a business advisor.

We sat down and started talking. Soon, it became clear that he was eager. I handed them a file with the results of the last weekend's sale.

The numbers were very impressive. So I said the opposite: "Here are the results of last weekend. Not great, but times have been better…." He was forced to say that the turnover and profit actually looked very good, because the difference between my words and my figures was a pleasant surprise, an understated value.

After one second, I added: "But we must keep in mind that our expenses are very low."

He was bursting to buy and wanted to know my price. Then I produced a valuation rapport in nice print, two pages long. He looked at it. Still, he would never pay that much. He wrote down a number, and if I accepted then, it was sold.

My turn to shake my head, and we went like that three times. We came to a standstill, his final number was x, mine is y. Then he warned me, he would drive home and talk to his wife, (he smiled), and she might very well disagree with his plans. In other words, the deal would only stand if I accept his offer now.

I immediately stood up to shake his hand. "Well, drive carefully and call me tomorrow!"

He couldn't believe his eyes and repeated this offer because maybe I didn't understand him correctly. He was used to getting his way and while I was willing to sell for much less, I would never allow him to drive home thinking he had bought the company. That would be fatal because our dance did not fit the importance of the deal.

Instinctively I knew that he had to drive all the way home with a firm NO going through his head. He must ponder all the way, and all night as well. Within the boundaries of reason (because he was a shrewd businessman), the more I would force him to pay, the more it was worth to him to own the company.

We closed the deal the very next morning on the phone, for my price. My experiences with him later clearly showed that my instinct (not to accept his offer that evening) had been completely correct. His expectation needed more time to grow.

Focus: Dangerous words

Elaborate: Some words we don't like utter, but dance circles around. Words like cancelling and suing. If nobody uses these words we feel we may avoid the danger that they are hiding. This hope is not only frail but also danger to the strength of our position.

Solution:There is one rule to remember, the person who says it first seems to fear the option less than the other one. So it doesn't really matter if you are afraid your lease will be cancelled When they imply it, you say, "If I understand you right you mean that you wish to cancel. From when? I need that in writing."

Again this seems very daring, but in fact you can only lose what you never had anyway. There is nobody that would cancel because of your words - in fact they are far less likely to do that now. The mere fact that you do not fear the option means that they have such a good deal that you can only improve with a next renter. This kind of hidden messages can only aid your position, never harm it.

Chapter 5

The Middleman

Focus: The very first business lesson is: Cut out the middleman!

Elaborate: Middlemen are notorious for costing money. The best advice? Don't hire one!

Solution: On the other hand, your best excuse for using a middlemanis the same reason why doctors visit a colleague when they are ill. Why don't they cure themselves?

Staying objective

When you negotiate a private object, you'll run the risk of becoming too involved, and take negative remarks too personal. You are liable to get tunnel vision and although you know better, perform like an amateur.

Even a lesser qualified negotiator will obtain a better result by bringing the ever-so-important outsiders approach to the negotiations table. He takes a distance from your wants and needs, which you might view as disloyalty. But he will be a fresh wind and cut through unfair demands with much more ease. You must decide what really matters: the result or your ego?

Focus: We like to perform our own negotiations

Elaborate: It isn't just the money, although we use this as an excuse. Our ego finds it hard to hand the financial steering wheel to others even if they are better qualified or more experienced.

Solution: A competent negotiator will pay his own salary and generate money for you! Because he closes deals all the time he will remain calm and bring fresh idea's to the table. When in doubt, ask him to work on no cure-no pay basis. That separates performers from impostors, because anyone can call himself negotiator. But most negotiation consultants will refuse such a proposal outright. What does that tell you about their ability?

Adding authority

If the middleman happens to be a lawyer or broker he may add authority to your position. We should not discard the value of a professional title. The difference between a comment coming from a professor or just your mail man is huge, regardless of what comes out of their mouth. The mail man may be right and the professor in the wrong- but that negligible detail doesn't alter the weight of their words.

Other uses for a middleman:

  1. If you can get their middleman on your side, he can help change the mind of the ones who hired him. This sounds like a tall order, but all it takes is to separate him from his duty. Point out that a deal can be made only if his client accepts your value. When the deal is signed, he has done his job, so make sure he realises that he is in for an incredible fight with you. Present it right and he may fear looking foolish in front of the people who are paying him.

  1. A middleman can soften the blow. Your value is different than theirs, and that can be seen as an insult. But it sure sounds different when it comes from their own expert.

  2. A middleman may sometimes be overvalued, but he has the ear of the other side because he is a lawyer, a licensed broker, or consultant. They hired him, didn't they? That means that they trust him. The cold fact, wrapped in pink paper with a ribbon around it; he is only there to make money. It is very rare to find a middleman who doesn't care if he loses his percentage or not. Expect him to pretend in front of his client, just throw him a bone to prove he is worth the bill he is going to send them afterwards.

  3. But if the middleman is really doing his job, you can use that as well. After some time of annoying standstill, try contacting their client directly. Let them know that the two of you could better handle it without him. That way, he becomes the person-to-blame and that can be a welcome sight if the deal is deadlocked.

  4. A middleman can be used for the good cop, bad cop scenario. That is a two person act.

  5. Play the middleman. This one of my personal favourites I am trying to find the best solution, not only for my side, but for BOTH sides! That is all I want. This gives a neutral impression that is very valuable during the proceedings.

    And here's some bad news.

Fact 16: Middlemen, what separates you weighs

more than what binds you together

When you bought the house, made payments, and rebuild it, was the broker there to pay the costs and/or sweat with you? Of course not! So when it comes to selling, your interests seem to be the same, but in fact they may not be.

What binds you:

  • The need to come to an agreement. Maybe. Brokers usually get paid when the deal is done. Lawyers and consultants get paid regardless of the result, as they usually charge by the hour (minute).

  • Whatever you want to accomplish. Unfortunately, this is not a strong issue with a middleman unless he gets a bonus for it.

  • In the best case scenario, he will see the negotiation as a sport and enjoy the proceedings as such.

What separates you:

  • You want to get the optimal result. He just needs a result.

  • He will bill you for his work regardless of how satisfied you are with the outcome.

So while it appears like a middleman is on the side of whoever pays his bill, sometimes they can be turned rather easily if things don't seem to work out. Be aware that you stay in control, and try to take advantage of a middleman who works for the other side.


A friend of mine hired a real estate broker to buy a property.

My presence created the problem that you cannot have two captains on one ship. So I backed off and just listened. I offered my advice, which this broker swiftly discarded. His message was clear; he alone was the expert. No problem. We are never too old to learn.

When my friend had made up her mind regarding the price, she told him what her offer was, and with all other questions answered, it was time to negotiate.

Lucky for us, during that second viewing the seller and his broker were both present. So my vocal cords were itching to negotiate. But it was not my job.

My friends broker said to us: "Now I'm going home and then I will call them later tonight with our offer."

What? You just had them at the table, with personal contact, eye-to-eye and you want to go home?

This is an incredible mistake. Looking the person in the face when you present your first offer is a huge advantage.

Why give that up?

Indeed he called them later that evening to give the opening bid, which was refused. The following negotiation did not take long and went their way, no surprise.

Any decent negotiator would sense that our broker was scared of confrontation, fearing failure in front of his client.

You must always put yourself in their shoes. Because what happens during those two hours of waiting?

The seller's broker had remained there, so I imagine they had a cup of coffee or even a glass of wine and… they talked.

And surely the subject was this weird broker of ours who insisted on calling in the offer later. One can hear them think...did we need more time to consider the price? Because it was the second time we had seen the property, with some days in between, this was unlikely.

That they took advantage of our weakness was only fair, that's business. But that is the problem with the confronting moment when the negotiation starts. Everyone was allowed to remain friendly leading up to that point- but now the spell was about to be broken. Not everyone can deal with that stress. If you hire a weak negotiator you'll always pay the price for it… on top of his salary!

Focus: Detaching a middleman from his task

Elaborate: The link between the middleman and his client may be far from strong and should be tested.

Solution: This is how it works:

  1. Feel carefully if there is anything within the employer's relationship that bothers him, or he disagrees with. Take him aside to ask for his views, this creates intimacy. You need to listen very carefully and look for an opening. This sounds much more daring than I have found it to be, and the response has surprised me time and time again.

  2. Create a them versus us feeling. You and him want really the same. Fish to see if he will say anything negative about the company, his job etc.

If there is indeed unrest, this will show now, and otherwise you just made an innocent comment. If you are able to create even the slightest wrinkle, this can help your case very much, either with gathering information or closing the deal. Once alone with him, attack the subject of the negotiation, and if applicable, also his employers. They are to blame for their weak position, not him.

Because you are able to separate him and this company. You disagree with the company, but respect his stand. But you know he can personally see your point also.

Believe it or not, I have been able to detach even owners from their own company that way. The advantage is that your relationship with him stays intact even though at some stage, you can see clouds over your relationship with the company. Mistakes in shipping or invoices, it is, according to you, always someone else that did it wrong, never him!

Remember that we are not interested in reaching the middle solution. Our purpose is to gain as much advantage as possible, and reach the absolute best end result.

Changing the position of your opponent is a vital start… the method will vary depending on how qualified he is.

You may find it easy to detach a low-paid salesman, but much more complicated to do the same to an executive who has a private limo with driver. The second will take longer and a much more sensitive approach because he stands to lose so much more.

Focus: Playing the middleman

Elaborate The role of middleman fit perfectly with NegoLogic because we display two sides of the coin.

Solution: Try to create a place for yourself that seems more of an intermediary than a deal maker with the best interest of just one side in mind. NegoLogic puts you in that position already. Give them the feeling that you are someone they can really talk to. You are not one of these knife-in-the-hand aggressors they fear and loathe.

For instance, as a middleman you can find a certain part of the deal from your own side (put in for that purpose beforehand: always ask more than you need...) that makes not enough sense to use against such nice people. You will fight to have it removed as a concession. Actions speak louder than words and give much greater rewards.

Which allows you to stand firm on another point that is really worth money. This rarely fails. The other side should return the favour because this time, you surrendered something without a fight.

The simple fact that you see variations of unacceptable, acceptable, and this-makes-perfect-sense in your own proposals gives great value to your reasoning. You do realise that the opinion of an aggressive deal maker that only sees his own merit is completely worthless to your opponent?

You are sensitive when it is called for. Meeting weak opposition in a weak market is quite another matter, more like shooting fish in a barrel.


Let's return to the summerhouse in a great location, but the inside needed work. I approached the broker in a most friendly manner, using an shock effect because the sellers were not present:

"Do you know what this house needs?"


"No. Open the door, throw a hand grenade inside and quickly close it again. BANG!"

"Does that mean you are not interested?"

"I admit that it will put most people off, but you'll get my offer on Monday by fax. Mind you, it will be considerably lower than the asking price, but we both know that's impossible anyway."

The power of the unspoken word

He did not contradict me, so in my mind, the price just lowered again.

After considering all the impulses, I faxed a legal document on Monday, exactly as promised.

This proposal consisted of:

  1. A firm offer. No reservations for finances, just a quick overall check of the status of the building. I simply cannot overstate the strength of a guaranteed sale. If you want a great deal, offer a firm solution instead of questions on top of a lower price, because that is asking for a certain no.

  2. Answering the why question. I explained my bid was exactly that amount because I was offered another house with a similar location for that same price. However, their house had my preference, so they had the first chance to say yes. This was to hand them ammunition to defend the sale to others. Their Story2Tell.

  3. My price was the result of a careful calculation that was mentioned earlier. A quick recap; they were asking 400.000. That means that they were hoping for an offer just below, maybe 375.000, or even 350.000.

    But because of these indications, I decided to stay even below the 300 mark; 250 would be too low, the number must lean towards 300 more. So 260 was better, and as it turned out, 265 was perfect.

  4. Deadline. If no positive answer was received within three days (I set the date and precise time of the fax) I was officially released from my offer, and free to deal with my other option. This is the blow of the hammer sure to give sleepless nights to the seller. A brick wall made of very nice cardboard, because I would certainly have been willing to pay more. But why would I if I wasn't being forced?

The broker called me two days later.

"We received your offer. Why is it so low?"

So he wanted to chat, but in this situation this was not advisable. I made a perfect, firm, and legal proposal, so we could only lose strength by talking.

"If it really is too low, you know what you should do. Just say no, or let the three days pass!"

"But I cannot do that. Because the sellers instructed me to accept your offer."

I love my job sometimes, isn't it fun? As expected, to gain face he became extremely firm on unimportant details: "But you must take over the lawnmower and the boat for 10.000. That is a firm price!"


"Okay? So that's a deal?

"Yeah, let's be reasonable. Fax me the details and I will sign right away."

So that was how it was done. How much more was I willing to pay? This is interesting to consider, because the fact is that I do not know. How could I? Their price was a bit high, but I loved the house, so there was no budget. The point was that I wasn't forced to consider other prices. Keep that in mind. You must always force others to reconsider their position.

If his response had been: (this is me negotiating with myself):

"We received your offer. Thank you."

"And your answer?"

"Has to be negative, I'm afraid. Not with that location. We have turned down much better offers. But you know what? Your timing is perfect because they are willing to part with the property for a lower price right now. But do not insult them by starting below three hundred thousand, that is just wasting your time and ours."

This would force me to ask: "So just to save us all some time, what price are you thinking of? We have the other house to consider…"

"Yeah, I meant to ask you, where is that property exactly? I know the area well, so I can estimate if the value is indeed the same, as you seem to think."

See how well that would have worked for them? He would have closed every door that I opened, one by one. And the brilliance of this approach is, it's only talk!

They still had the right to accept my offer, while meanwhile verbally trying my bluff at zero risk. It is amazing that professionals make mistakes like that. But, believe me, it happens all the time.

Focus: How to use a middleman as a buffer

Elaborate: Making use of a middleman who is getting paid by the other party is the coup de grace for negotiators. What could be better?

Solution: We must view the situation at hand and study the individual closely in order to accomplish this feat.


Some years ago I heard of an offer of a large quantity of Adidas shoes.

This interested me, so I contacted the company and I was told it concerned leftovers from a promotion by a huge electronic brand. A famous name that ends with Y.

They could not give me a price; I just had to make an offer.

Before I did that, I made sure that they were not wasting my time and that Y would accept any reasonable offer, subject to inspection of the goods. I started fishing and the water seemed fine, the man was eager to sell and according to him, so was Y.

I kept asking more questions and found out that the shoes were in a London warehouse and Y had to pay every month that they were stored. That was good enough for me; I flew over to inspect the lot.

This was by no means easy on account of the somewhat unfriendly, nearly hostile attitude of the personnel of the storage company. They were anything but cooperative, and I could only inspect a few shoes, the rest being stored beyond reach and sight. There was no room to move pallets around. I also noticed the storage was not heated in any way, and that there were a few other items in the shoe boxes, among which some kind of energy drink in a can. Upon my return, I informed the promotion company and gave my bid in writing based on payment after further inspection in my own warehouse.

Soon I received the answer that my offer was accepted.

When the goods arrived, we were in a better position to check the shoes, and found out that some of the soles were slightly blemished on the sides. I called Adidas (as I did a lot of business with them directly) and the sales director told me that the shoes were a few years old but no such blemish had been seen before. We concluded that is was on account of the changes of temperature, combined with the canned drinks, maybe not a good combination.

The promotion company was informed of the problem, and I sent them some samples. After a few days, they returned with a brick wall from Y.

Their position made perfect sense: I had the chance to inspect the goods and made my offer afterwards. They were not willing to give any discount on account of the blemishing.

This was the same kind of answer I would have given myself. Meanwhile, I had already sold the shoes to a country where they were not so very precise (I could never sell to Germany, for instance).

I made a very decent profit but I needed to test this brick wall that Y presented, so I called their middleman.

Imagine me in a friendly, bit distracted tone, like I was pre-occupied:

"Hey, John. I received your fax. Where do you want us to send the shoes? To your address?"

I had met the man and seen his situation; all he had was a small office. The mere thought of ten thousand pairs of shoes being delivered there made him stutter and I could feel his face go pale: "Not to us! But, I mean wait a second! You want to… return them?"

"I sure-as-hell don't want to keep them for full price, no. So what choice do I have?"

"Leave it with me, I'll call Y again."

"Okay, John, but I hope that you understand that my patience is wearing thin. Between you and me, I feel that Y has tricked me and I don't like it very much. First, the people at the warehouse refused to put pallets down so I could inspect them. Some people might find that suspicious, especially after what we know now. Then the shoes… well, I've sent you some samples, so.... We cannot be a little bit pregnant. They are either first quality or they're not! No way that these shoes can be sold as first quality, so that only means one thing. That they are seconds. And Y wants a first quality price. Am I reasonable or not?"

"You have always been reasonable, Peter. So what can I tell Y? What is your proposal, how much discount do you need to keep the shoes?"

"Normally at least 60% discount, but let's say 50% as my final word. Otherwise, just give the address where to send them, okay?"

"Yes, thanks, Peter. I'll get back to you!"

Now this seems very daring. How could I return shoes that I no longer had in my warehouse? On which planet can we call this a calculated risk?

Human behaviour indicates that this was a totally safe move and I was extremely confident of the outcome. From a mental viewpoint it was virtually impossible for Y to accept the return of the shoes.

Because they were given time to fall in love with the deal, remember?

If they had their own warehouse space available, it would be another matter. But then they would never have stored it elsewhere. And sending it back to the same storage, plus paying shipping both ways? No way.

So they quickly accepted my offer because their brick wall was just cardboard. This way, I used the middleman as a buffer and when I won him over, he did advocate my case. Speaking friendly, making jokes and when needed, just once, put on the pressure!

It rarely fails.

Now let's try the same situation without the middleman. Much harder! Of course, I would blame the storage company because the conditions were less than perfect. And I would try this approach; "To be fair, there's no way you could have known that the cans would have that effect on the long term, because even Adidas wasn't aware of that. I want to be reasonable, but at the same time I must look at the product as it is now. What it's worth now, in this condition. And that is not very good news."

Maybe we would have reached the same result, it would just have been harder, I think. Cutting out the middleman would have been a bad move in this case. If he can work for you, at no charge.

Focus: Predictable responses

Elaborate: Certain words demand a programmed reaction. When preparing for a negotiation, we must seek out these words and use them to get a more powerful message across.

Solution: For instance, in the last example I used words like "fair" and "reasonable" to imprint the logic of giving in to me. This helps your case tremendously if they cannot disagree with your words, or rather, the manner in which you use them. After all, if they are forced to accept your words, they also accept the position they represent.

Focus: The firm position

Elaborate:What to do when someone tries to take advantage of us?

Solution: In some situation we don't balance and go in with full force. We use other aspects of NegoLogic instead.


A completely different case from the beginning of my career.

I was sent to Portugal to negotiate because the delivery of a large order of towels was in jeopardy. The cotton price was on the rise; now the factory demanded a higher price or they would cease delivering the order.

The importer wanted to make sure the delivery would go through, all shipments for a year had been sold already. So he send me to Portugal to make a deal, maybe a middle solution would be possible?

The next morning after landing in Porto I had the meeting with the sales agency. As was often the case, the owners of the factory spoke almost no English, so we used their middleman for good reasons.

After we sat down, I opened the file and raised my eyebrows: "I understand you want a higher price, after you had already accepted the order?"

"Yes, that is exactly the problem. The price of cotton has gone up and the factory has to pay more too."

I nodded with supreme understanding: "Let me ask you a very simple question. If the price of cotton had gone down, instead of up, as has been the case several times in the last three years, em… did you LOWER the price then?"

He looked at me with a funny expression. "No, of course not."

"Okay, then here is the case. We had a great future planned with your factory, this is now in danger because you are trying to change an agreement. As a matter of principle, we cannot accept this attitude. Either my office receives a telex from the factory within twenty four hours confirming the delivery AT THE AGREED price, or I will place the order with one of the other factories that I have already contacted. On the other hand, if you agree to deliver, we can all go on with our business, and we will pretend that this conversation never had to take place."

His face had become red: "But you will never be able to book your order for the same price!"

"I think I can. But even if I'm wrong and you are right, it does not matter in the least. We go for a principle here, and you have said yourself that your raising the agreed price on us only goes one way, and the factory has never lowered the price when it went down. Then we would rather pay a bit more somewhere else. Maybe!"

The next morning, I sent this message to the office:

"If you do not receive a telex from the factory within twenty four hours confirming the delivery will take place at the agreed price, you must inform them I have handled the matter against your strict instructions. That I have been fired, and you are willing to meet them half-way."

There was no telex in twenty fourhours, but like anything from Portugal, it arrived a few hours late. And it was just as I expected. The whole order would be delivered at the "old" price.

Recap: I pointed out what seems obvious to me, that you cannot have it one way and not the other. Again, we are all programmed to think in a certain manner that makes sense if you do not look any further.

Price of cotton goes up, cotton products follow…. that goes for new orders, NOT for agreed contracts.

Once a price is agreed, it is up to the factory to buy the cotton in at that price to cover the order. They may choose not to do that for just one reason; if they were playing the market, expecting the price to drop. When it moved into the opposite direction, their solution was to charge their client for their risk, while they would have kept the profit if it had gone right.

For that reason alone, I felt entitled to give them this harsh treatment. And again, what seemed extremely risky was nothing more than a calculated risk.

Having said that, there are two problems with this negotiation:

  1. You can use pressure like this only once in a relationship.

  2. I don't like it if I am forced to speak more than the opposing party.

So view this as an extreme measure only, but it was concerning a lot of money. This consideration must also play a role in your choice of directions.

Focus: Keep it simple (when conveying a message to a middleman)

Elaborate: There is no use to give a whole range of reasoning, because the middlemen will fumble the message you want the decision makers to hear, the way you want them to hear it. BecauseNegoLogic is a very precise method.

Focus: You may use a middleman to present an ultimatum, like I did in the Netherlands and Portugal, but keep the message one-dimensional. The story must be told onwards to the decision maker with one single ironclad argument.

If your reasoning is complicated and impossible to simplify, the basic rule is that you should demand that the boss attends the meeting. When using the balancing part of NegoLogic, you must face your opponent to gain the best result.

Chapter 6

Negotiation Mode

The song and dance of most negotiations is quite predictable.

Once the asking price and opening bid are given, the parties end up with two parallel lines that are a certain distance apart. Neither is very serious at this stage; just numbers to set the basis for the final result.

Both take steps to get the lines closer together.

Your turn. Me. You again.

When one of the parties gives a final price, the other one needs to sigh loudly, roll his eyes, and make a decision. In fact, the price is rarely final because now they are so close together that one will think; I gave 520.000 as my final price, and they come back with 510.000, do I really want to let it go for 10.000?

Focus: We cannot break the existing pattern

Elaborate: Why not make use of predictabilities, instead of Don Quixoting ourselves against windmills.

Solution: So while it seems that we are going through the same motions, we are playing quite another game that only appears the same on the outside. We must seek the behavioural perspective behind the façade.

Two farmers

Let's look at this most basic form of bartering. Have you ever seen farmers dealing cattle? One wants to sell for the right price, and the other one wants to buy without paying over the top.

The perfect start of any negotiation!

In days gone by, farmers met once a month on the marketplace. If they saw some prime cattle, first they look around to see if anyone else has spotted the same find. If not, the buyer would call out a number and if it wasn't too crazy to begin with, the seller would hit his hand and scream a price back at him.

Let's assume a cow is worth forty, then the buyer may start at twenty, and maybe the seller at sixty, and they meet around the market value.

At this stage, there is no reasoning at all; one trying to convince the other of anything. It is done before the hand-slapping starts. Now they are in active negotiation mode. Their manner to show displeasure is turning away from the other one, removing themselves from the negotiation venue, one step at the time.

This negative motion can be stopped any time by calling out a slightly better number, or failing that, yet another. It cannot be simpler, and yet there is a lot more technique involved than I have seen from some of the highest paid professionals.

Because they covered these absolutely vital points;

  1. They deal only because there is nobody else around. If they would see someone is busy or about to start dealing proceedings, they'll walk on and forget about that deal. At least for that moment. They won't allow themselves to fall in love with the cow if it is too costly.

  2. Both parties demand the best possible deal from the other one. The price became forty because forty-one and thirty-nine were refused in a firm manner.

  3. During the sequence, both pretend to walk away several times, showing their determination to take or leave it if their demands were not met.

  4. They master facial expressions and body movements instead of using too many words and watering down their importance. Movements are not so easily mistrusted. They act out anger, feeling insulted, bonding and friendship, being amused and finally moderate contentment with the outcome. They make sure that their opponent sees all emotional corners of the ring, because only then he has the feeling that he has given it his best effort. The duration of the dance is exactly right.

These farmers never attended any negotiation school, but because their livelihood depended on the outcome, they found a solid way of reaching an acceptable result for both parties.

During the negotiation process your opponent's willingness to close the deal will be in almost constant movement, going up and down. If you do it right, they are likely to start out wanting, and end up feeling they need to close the deal with you. Because the alternative is starting all over again with a new person who may not look so kindly towards their position.

And that is where NegoLogic earns its keep. We supply the impulse that tells your opponent that the decision to deal with us is correct.

Focus: The deal must stick

Elaborate: It is ill advisable to negotiate with people who are not entitled to make a decision. The danger is that the deal will not stick and you have wasted your time.

Solution: But maybe more important is that the person that you are facing must have some personal interest in the successful closure. Even if their interest is just personal appreciation instead of financial gain for the company, it is imperative that the person facing you has something to win or lose with the outcome. The way NegoLogic works is based on this need. It will be unlikely to succeed the same way otherwise.

Focus: Changing the deal

Elaborate:Some situations are wrong in the foundation, so you are unable to come to any agreement.

Focus: A basic NegoLogic strategy, if you do not like the deal: change the contents.

You can add or subtract anything that comes to mind in order to alter the deal as it is presented. Often negotiations are simply too straightforward. Then you may add complications in the shape of a more varied range of choices.

Like adding or subtracting, buying more or selling less if that is possible. It can be a solution to remove segments of a deal, just to set the parts back together again in a completely different way.


A long time ago, I attempted to sell a collection of ladies clothing to a clearance buyer. His opening offer was so low that I even declined to counter it.

His bid had been for the total bulk lot, so I gave him some time to realise he drove all that way for nothing. To face this negative result. We sat in silence for quite a while, but he did not get up to leave. This was an indication. When someone tells you that no business can be done – providing he means it – he will get up to leave. If he doesn't it means that you must listen to his actions, instead of his words.

I then suggested that we could break up the assortment part by part, and we would accept or decline his price for each model separately. That way we ended up bartering. I would accept this price, but not that one, and so on. Give and take. In short, I sold everything to him for much more than his original bid. Maybe he overestimated my need for money, and to deal with him. Or my negotiation skills.

A variation of this method was used by another businessman. When buying, he would always try to add to any deal. No matter how good it already was; he would make it even better by just adding more and more to the order.

This man rarely offered a price per item; he just added the total amount if they accepted his offer. If the seller wanted to find out what the price per piece was, he needed to use his calculator because we were talking about large numbers and complicated deals. The temptation to just say yes was growing for the seller. Getting rid of your stock, and have room for new products. Plus the money.

Focus: Who do we negotiate with?

Elaborate: The other party might bring his wife, friend, advisor, or lawyer to the table. The more the better.

Because the more people they need on the other side of the table, the weaker they must feel. And will feel, because you dared to come alone.

Solution: You need to steer the events either in the foreground or in the background. To dominate a negotiation, there is no need to talk more often or louder than they do, nor are you required to lead.

They may need to feel they are in control, and you will just allow them the illusion. Do not let them talk all the time either. To break such pattern, remain silent for a while until they notice it. Then ask when it is your turn to speak.

"Do you need me here at all, because it seems that you can manage perfectly without me?" Smile.

The point is: without you nothing goes anywhere, and that fact gives you all the power you need.

Facing several persons, the fact that you came* alone adds strength because you must be sure of yourself to do so. And although you came alone, it does not mean you are alone.

*Don't outnumber your opposition. Too many people talk too much and divert attention that you need. Your opponents may feel threatened when outnumbered.

You may take a break to make a quick conference call if the events call for a change in direction, or simply a break...

Fact 17: You are not selling the outcome, but a reason

Some time ago, I sold some warehouse stock for a much higher price than I expected. Then it suddenly hit me!

I didn't sell the goods at all, but the reason; because the company was closing. Which made me realise again how reliable we react to certain word associations.

Bankruptcy, liquidation, emigration sale; these words all trigger that "opportunity" feeling. When someone is losing money, the message is that you stand to gain even more.

Had we sold the exact same products without the "closing" reason, we would have reached a much lower price. The problem is that you cannot close companies all the time, so we should be on the lookout for other words that have a similar effect.

Focus: Always explain "why"

Elaborate: If you do not volunteer a reason, your opponent will imagine one by sheer guessing. There is no telling what he may come up with because these are thoughts that you don't control, nor will be able to predict.

Solution: When dealing with people with a large antenna (quick to pick up your signals), it is often better to seem reluctant to reveal your reasons, but imply carefully instead. With those individuals, it works better if you do not spell it out and they "find your weakness" on their own accord.

It is like playing tennis. If you have a great backhand, leave the left side of the field a bit more open, to misinform your opponent that this side is unprotected. Then… hit the ball!

Focus: Ask them to explain their reasons

Elaborate: If the other side gives you a reason that does not seem to add up, don't be surprised. You may expect they are trying to hide something.

Solution: There are several ways to get to the truth anyway.

Take a break to think. You can carefully go over each word and expression of theirs that did not make sense to you. And see if you can put the pieces together. Repeat his story to him with some slight changes, and see how he reacts. If he accepts the changes that means he is not too sure himself.

Focus: Pass the blame!

Elaborate: Kings used to cut the head off the massager who brought him bad news. And to this day, we always look to place the blame somewhere. So many kids using drugs, who's to blame? Even when it starts raining when we are riding our bicycle, we blame the weather report for not warning us.

It gives great comfort that all the bad on the planet could have been avoided, if only...

When we negotiate we don't have to look very far, just right across the table. That person is gaining what you lost.

He's to blame!

Solution: That is why NegoLogic chooses to point the blame somewhere else, towards circumstances or people that play no active role in the proceedings. Negative messages should come from a neutral source, so we can both pretend to be angry, but deal with it anyway.

Focus: Truth, lies, and everything in the middle

Elaborate: Is there any room for truth at the negotiation table? Of course there is. Everything that can be checked and everything that is written on paper needs to be "true", or rather, someone's truth. Just like there is not just one value, there are also different versions of the truth.

Should we believe what the other party tells us? Of course NOT!

Solution: While there are truth, lies, and half-lies heard at negotiation tables, you need not bother with the truth because you will so rarely hear it.

Blatant lies can easily be spotted. Usually the 37.8% lies fool us.

To ensure nobody can catch you lying, don't even attempt it. Stretching the truth is acceptable but understating reaches better effect, especially when you combine it with our other methods.

And whenever you are in doubt if someone is telling the (whole) truth, just assume they are not. Whatever has been said, just turn it around and you will find yourself much closer to the true situation.

Businessman, baker, or schoolteacher; we are all programmed to hide certain situations when we negotiate... so we lie. More often than not, buyers and sellers are either lying or not telling the whole truth.

We all are programmed to act this way in order to get the result we want, so it is expected.

But lying is distracting because you always need to remember your lies and act accordingly. The person that you are trying to fool might be an expert on that subject. Once you have been exposed, you have lost their trust. Lying is likely to catch up with you. It is predictable, and predictability leads to failure.


The mystery of the dog

A house owner shows me around himself (so some people would say that he hired a fool). He is a lawyer and assumes himself to be very capable. But we find him much too talkative, and he gives no moment of rest. Look at this, did we see that? He is talking non-stop.

The house really has some great features that interest me. It is within walking distance to a yacht harbour, overlooking a lake. But also in close proximity to a busy road. And the seller is acting too nervous, really sweating. Meanwhile his words remain cool. He doesn't care if he sells or not, doesn't need the money.

So I start looking for that why; why do they want to move if they really love the property so much? His answer remains the same and sounds like it has been repeated in front of a mirror. They are moving only a small distance away, building a new house overlooking the ocean on the other side. So he is avoiding the question.

And why is he so nervous? During the first viewing he already wants to know if this house could be the one for us. I answer carefully that it might be. We sit down and talk, but I cannot figure him out; when he repeats that he does not need to sell for financial reasons, it does not seem a lie. But his words and his signals just do not match.

And then the dog!

After we have seen the house for the second time, we notice numerous pictures of a dog. His wife says she will be walking a dog, but we never see any dog.

I insist: "Why are you selling?" He points at his wife and states she is the reason, he would never want to sell this house. While that was no real answer, I knew that we have come one step closer to the truth. Finally, I figured it out.

Their dog had been hit by a car, with the road being so close to the garden. Luckily he survived and the wife decided that she loved the dog more than the house. With that location, the next accident was only a matter of time. So the dog was living with friends so she could still see and walk it every day. With their new house, there was no such danger.

This is a good example how the question "why" can be more hurtful than the answer. These kinds of half-truths are what you will find on your way to making a deal. What they are trying to hide might be unimportant to you, because the road was too clear for anyone to miss anyway. The point is, do not close the deal until you know what it is they are hiding. Or you will find out the truth when it is too late.

Focus: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Elaborate: Whenever a friend catches you off guard with an unexpected remark or question, this is usually quite innocent.

"Didn't you own a trailer?"

"Have you been to Venice?"

"Didn't your sister go to that university?"

What do any of these questions have in common with the soccer match you're watching?

Solution: Some train of thought that only that person knows, has taking place beforehand. He needs to rent a trailer, or is planning to go to Italy and has recently been talking about universities. So while you do not know the source, there always is one.

During negotiations you must be wary when anyone is volunteering unexpected information, out of the blue.

Fact 18: Red flag out of context statements


You are looking to buy a car. The salesman says: "It has never been in an accident, you know."

This should raise a red flag. If you did not ask, why does he utter those words? In this case it is likely that he means the opposite!

In fact, he is not speaking to you at all, but trying to convince himself that the weakness he fears isn't really there. Because he can make it disappear with words.

We need to ask: what train of thoughts leads to this unprovoked statement?

So let's try one: Customer for that car; chance to shift it, will he notice the accident?

Unless his wife had just been in a car accident, what other explanation could there be? Just try this every time someone tells you something that does not quite add up, imagine what could be their train of thought. Because there must be one.

The answer aids your position best if you do not tell him that you noticed it. But use it as a threat that only really is a threat if you are right.

Like this: "Either you want to take me up on my offer, or I will have to have the car tested. I'm not willing to go higher without a complete report, but if you say yes we can make up the papers right now. Then I'll take my chances. So what do you think?"

"Taking someone up on an offer" triggers the association that you already went too far, but you feel bound to your word. There is that valuable opportunity sting again.

Focus: Using extreme truths

Elaborate: How can the truth become extreme and what do we gain by that?

Solution: We have already recognized how surprising statements can help gain attention and trust from the other party, keeping them focused while presenting yourself as extremely believable.


Faced with this question: "Do you think parking will ever become a problem in the future?"

"I really don't. But you should not take my word for it because I just want to sell my apartment to you."

How would you react if someone tells you that? You might smile. Meanwhile, the truthfulness of that statement will ensure that you trust this person more than you did before. Can you see the huge difference between that conversation and the following unprovoked statement?

"I can assure you that parking will never become a problem here!"

The sentence is basically the same, but it gives a completely different subliminal message, and rightly so. Extreme truths shake you up, while these predictable worthless assurances make you close your ears.

So whenever someone tries this on you, do the test: "Assure? I like that word! Now that you are so sure that parking is no problem I think we must add a clause to the contract. Having no parking, or not sufficient parking would reduce the value quite a bit. So let's say that if there is a parking problem in the next ten years, you will pay for the expenses. Fair or not? You said that you were sure, so there is no risk for you."

Focus: The reliability factor

Elaborate:Everything we do or don't gives subliminal messages. Nothing is unimportant enough to be overseen.

Solution: Actions speak louder than words. More than just refraining from telling lies, your whole package in order to be seen as a trustworthy person is:

  • Come on time. Never arrive too early or too late.

  • Never, ever promise more than you can deliver. Promise less in order to deliver more.

  • Don't raise expectations unless for an exact purpose.

Any kind of disappointment, no matter how minor, will damage your white image. Which you need to get your valuation across.

This goes double when you are trying to read people.


I was approached by someone who was interested to obtain foreign rights to NegoLogic and after a few emails we decided to schedule a telephone call. When the time came, he didn't call me. This was a very negative message which did not match his email after the weekend, that he was very sorry and he would try it again later. What gives me the right to judge him on that? If the deal was really so important to him, then he would make time to keep his promise. His reasons were between feeble and non-existent, he had just been busy. Too busy to keep his appointments? What does that say about a person?

From that moment I knew that he wasn't for real and it turned out to be right a few months later. Against my better judgement I gave him another chance. Of course he blew that one also. If the relationship starts out like that, it will never go anywhere once the business is up and running and there are complications and matters of trust involved.

Focus:How to spot a lie

Elaborate: Wouldn't it be great if we could be come lie-detectors?

Solution: Lie-detectors are only as reliable as the person behind them, but that's another story. There is a simple way to get started with reading minds. Sit down with the person in question, no distractions. Do not change your position or tone of voice and ask innocent questions to see how he reacts. Listen with your eyes! Now ask the question that matters and watch carefully. Does he avoid your glance or blink? Is he suddenly crossing his arms?There is your indication! Just to make sure, ask innocent questions again, then rephrase the important one. The result will surprise you. Can it be so easy? Absolutely.

It is also easy to get it wrong, for instance when you lean forward while asking the important question or change your tone. Another thing we must be aware of are words that scare or upset people. Use them again in an innocent sentence to compare the result. If the person has a short attention-span his eyes will roll away all the time. That only means you cannot judge him on that. This is a complicated issue that is worth further studying because it gives great insight that you cannot obtain otherwise.

Focus: Distractions

Elaborate: "I never interrupt an opponent when he's busy making a mistake." (Napoleon Bonaparte)

Some of us dig our own graves during negotiations, for reasons like nervousness, distraction, tiredness, or simple stupidity. So allow some minor diverting from the straight line and let their mind wonder aloud, because you never know what comes up.

Others cannot separate their personal life from business, and they start mixing negotiations with all sorts of distractions. This has nothing to do with introduction or lightening the mood, gaining information, or changing direction.

Solution: Distractions sidetrack the decision progress, and are therefore undesired. Allow limited time before you steer back to the right course. Do their worries have anything to do with the subject at hand? Then they need to be addressed. Once. I have seen people making offers based on the money they had, not as a reaction to anything we have discussed. There is no method that can put more money into their pockets, so that cuts the whole negotiation short.

Focus: Unlucky ducks

Elaborate: Some people will complain over their misfortune, or use it as reasons not to trust anyone. In their mind they have extreme bad luck, always running into cheaters. That is why they have trouble believing you now.

Solution: Anyone's past experiences should not be allowed to have any bearing on a current negotiation. Try a line like this:

"As unfortunate as I find all this, I know that you are not the kind of person who let this change the way you look towards the future. Otherwise, the bad guys would have won, right? We cannot have that. So, let's return to where we left things..."

What is the difference between people with genuine negative experiences and the ones that are made up?

The real victims try to forget and get on with their lives, but the notorious complainers simply refuse to let go.

Focus: Variables

Elaborate: So far we have mostly been addressing head-to-head negotiations, during which whatever one party gives up, the other gains. But it does not always have to be like that.

Solution: A win-win scenario means finding fragments in the deal that are worth more to one party than to the other and trade them. For instance, if you buy a car and the deal seems deadlocked; do you want any extra features?

They must be cheaper for the dealer than for you.

And these are called variables, a highly praised and a bit overrated method. In my experience variables are in no way the revelation some negotiators seem to think. Taking money from "the middle" instead from your opponent seems a wonderful option, but one that is not always possible in practice.

Focus: Fragmentation

Elaborate: Even after changing the contents the completion of the deal might still be far away.

Solution: One should look for elements that are worth more (or less) to your opponent than they are for you. For sake of argumentation. To find out if their claim of value is correct, you take a part out of the deal. How much is this worth to you?

Then, depending on their answer; either deduct it or buy it. In other words, use their own valuation against them. This works very well because if they accept, you have made your deal. And if they don't, it means they have to lower their price accordingly for what is left. This is an alternative to variables, now the suggestion doesn't have to be real for it to work.

One should always try to take the subject apart and put it back together again in a different manner. Finding the right person or company is usually more rewarding than seeking variables with just anyone.

Focus: Paging Dr. Feel-Good

Elaborate: The mood of a meeting is easily set either way.

Solution: It is extremely important that your opponent gets feedback from you from the moment you shake hands to meet. He will be rewarded for giving in to you. Just as you "punish" negative behaviour. Let's try this with subliminal messages.

  • Rewarding: alternative proposals or choices. Compliments, change of tone. Flexible. Body language; leaning forward, opening possibilities.

  • Punishment: Change of tone, describing his negative alternatives. Firm. Body language, locked fingers, crossed legs, taking distance.

Your sincerity will never be in question when you use actions instead of words. Make it a game, how much can you say without speaking*? Keep in mind that their reaction might be delayed, so don't expect instant results all the time.

When receiving such messages yourself, you always know when his expressions and movements don't match the spoken word. Then you will feel doubt that you cannot explain.

Read also: stages of separation.

*You don't have to be silent, just say something innocent, not relating to the matter at hand.

Chapter 7


Focus: Playing dumb

Elaborate: We all want to seem more intelligent than we really are. But is this wise?

Solution: People love to appear smarter than you, so displaying false weaknesses works in your favour. Granted, you will not look smart, and they feel that they took advantage of you. Great!

Make sure that they smell opportunity. Who can pass that up?


You want to buy a computer and have looked around for prices to compare. You are interested in one that costs around 800. Then you get an offer to buy one for only 500, a demo. The seller tells that he thinks the value for a new one could be as high as 650.

Because you already know that the new price is really 800, you will assume the deal is so great because he does not know the real value!

You will jump at the deal, taking advantage of the fact that you know more than he does. In reality, he has set a very smart trap.

Imagine that he uses the old method and tells you that the new price is 1100, your answer would be that you have seen it already for 800. Now the same situation becomes a heated argument instead of a sale.

So allow the other person to "outsmart" you.

Focus: Arguments, more is better?

Elaborate: When we are trying to change our opponent's mind we are faced with many choices. This is a tall order. How to proceed? What arguments do we hit them with? Especially among professionals, there is this strong belief that more is better.

Solution: Because of the human aspect, this is not true.

"Well, there's always another day," said one lawyer to another, both working for the District Attorney's office. They had failed to convince a jury that the defendants were guilty of murder in the first or second degree or conspiracy. Bad luck!

But not really. They actually had a very good case against one of the defendants, but not against the second, who was clearly innocent. One had pulled the trigger, but his friend had the misfortune to be in the car with him earlier that night. He was not even by his side when the shots were fired.

Here is what happened that fateful night. There had been hostility between them and people in another car and in a confusing moment someone called, "He's got a gun!" One of the friends ran across the car park to his own car (they had been driving another car that night) to get his gun. Then he shot a person when he thought that he saw him waving a gun at him. Self-defence? Misunderstanding? Whatever it was, it certainly was not cold-blooded murder.

So why do the prosecutors try to get a murder conviction against them both? To show that they are trying hard to do their job. And one never knows what argument will convince the jury because they are only human, right?

Exactly. They are just as human as the people you will meet when you are negotiating. So in order to change their mind, we must seem fair and reasonable at all times, or we will fail, just like those lawyers. Had the prosecutors dropped all charges against the friend who was so clearly innocent and used their good reasons trying to convict the other one, there was no way he would have walked off free.

Why is that? Because the jury listens to what the lawyers tell them and while trying to get all of their convictions, they overreach. They overstate, and are at times totally ridiculous. Later that same person comes with real damaging facts against the shooter. But what does the jury see? The same unbelievable lawyer. The one that was stretching the truth beyond any limit and insulted their intelligence.

By trying to convince the jury that an innocent person was guilty, they were already placed in the box of being untrustworthy. No amount of arguments, no matter how true, could change that fact. So while trying the impossible, they ruined their case.

This example is no exception, I recall the long list of charges against Michael Jackson. The same principle, more is better. Once you charge him with "conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment or extortion" you create a tall order for yourself to proof. And because you were wrong at some points (and maybe right at others), there are not many listeners in the jury that will make that distinction.

Whatever proof you do have will be seen as: "Well, he was wrong before, so how could he be right now?" A fish swims, a bird flies and liars lie. Once you are in that box, you stay there and you cannot convince anyone of anything any more

You understand by now that when you negotiate, your listeners are your judge and jury.

Focus: The power of maybe

Elaborate: This strategy comes from playing poker. If you are a decent poker player, at times you need to be able to bluff yourself into a winning situation because you cannot always have a winning hand. The same goes for negotiations.

Solution: What is the best bluff? When you do not know that you are bluffing!

Because maybe you are bluffing, and maybe not.


I was trying to sell a property and buyers were playing the waiting game. They appeared interested, but always found some reason to put their actions off even longer. It became clear that nobody would take any decision unless forced to do so.

The cat bites his own tail. It happens often that after something has been sold, you get reactions from people who have been waiting and waiting and now realised that they waited too long.

Now suddenly they are ready to buy after having missed their chance. This attitude is very normal and proofs our previous observations: that we only feel safe buying IF someone else wants to own it too.

But how to break that circle? We must start somewhere.

Make someone commit to something; if half-committing is all you can get, it will have to do.

So that even applies to a commitment to buy IF they sell their own house first (usually a waste of time and effort, especially in this case because their own house seemed even harder to sell than my property).

But this time I was willing to sign a contract with them because I had other plans. It gave them right of first refusal for three months, and it gave me nothing. Nothing?

Maybe not.

During this period nothing positive happened, just like I expected, and after two months I pulled a card out of my sleeve.

Is it an ace? I refused to look, using the Power of Maybe.

We offered the buyer a chance to purchase regardless of the fact that his house remained unsold, and we gave him a good discount on the price, The Carrot.

However, should he decline our offer, then we intend to sell for the highest bid, The Stick. That would attract a lot of interest.

Our broker preferred to wait until the three-month period had passed.

I disagreed.

Because the Power of Maybe needed to create a bottleneck, two events taking place at the same time, not after each other!

The bottleneck: we were willing to sell to the highest bidder BUT we already had a contract with someone.

That goes both ways.

  1. The value of the property was proven because we already had a contract. That made our property very attractive for new interested parties.

  2. Our "buyer" has had a few months to get used to the feeling that he could own the property – allowing him to fall in love with the result. Would he be able to let it go? It would seem like he had been outsmarted by another buyer. He must be tempted to accept our offer and finalize the deal. And take the risk of carrying a double mortgage.

If we had taken the advice of the broker and waited until the contract period was over, we would have gone into the bidding stage with…nothing. Now we went in with the Power of Maybe.

Both ways worked.

The first interested party that looked at the property, which had been unsuccessfully on the market for over three years, heard we had a buyer already and wanted to buy on the spot. But our first buyer had accepted our offer immediately, also afraid to miss out. That left us in the comfortable position of having the choice between more money or a secure sale.

Focus: Giving the right amount of options

Allowing your opponent a number of choices shows that you are flexible, but their answer may reveal usable information as well.

Elaborate: Henry Ford made cars in all colours, as long as it was black. Those days are in the past. We are brought up with the illusion that we are all individuals, so we are entitled to choices. A choice between buying and not buying gives the seller a more than 50% chance on a wrong answer. While shifting the issue to which brand, colour or shape means a sale.

If a salesman shows you twenty items, all different, and he advises that all of them are suitable for you, this is by itself a confusing message.

Solution: You go to the next store and meet a salesman that acts different. He has the same twenty items but wants to know what you need it for, what are your wishes. He listens and based on what you told him he explains that twelve of them are not good for you. Of the eight left, the warranty or quality of three is not as good as he would like, so he shows the remaining five choices and explains the difference between them in simple terms.

No matter what your decision is, there is a slight advantage that only he can give you; nobody else has quite the same offer available at this moment. It is very likely you will buy here.

Why is that?

  1. By showing that some offers are NOT good, he gave himself (in your mind) the right to praise others, and be believable. Because you know by instinct not all twenty are equally good, there must be some better and worse ones.

  2. He makes your choice easier, but he does not present the decision to you. This is vital. You might feel less positive if he hands you his pick, and you need to buy it. Because according to him, all other choices are just wrong. You want to be advised and still make your own decisions.

  3. He presents you with a very small (maybe rather unimportant) extra detail that you can only get from him, right now. It is not the item that matters, but the gesture. It gives you an excuse to decide. So you can always explain to yourself and others why you bought now, and why here. The size of that tiny feature tells you there is not much profit in it for him. He does not need to say the words; you will simply draw that conclusion. If the present was out of proportion, it would urge you to question the whole deal.

We all perform in a very predictable manner and lucky for us: many people still get it wrong. Because if all salesmen would act in the same correct way, that would make our choice hard again. And we do not like our choices to be difficult; we want to feel safe about every one of our decisions. Or we need more time to think it over.

The worse case scenario is that you decide something and when you tell friends about it, they correct you and say that you made a mistake! Because we are all strong decision-makers and great negotiators, right? We are not allowed to admit any failures.

Focus: The Bogus clause

Elaborate: When you make a contract or proposal keep in mind that they will rarely say no- or yes to every aspect. We walk the fine line between being gullible and unreasonable. We all want to be wise, street-smart as well as fair.

Solution: When giving options, there must be at least one that is like a red piece of cloth to a bull. To distract them. Because you take advantage elsewhere. During small talk you can sometimes pick something up that raises their hairs. Other times you might notice that a relatively small matter is blown out of proportion.

This is a perfect Bogus clause. Resist them for a while and then give in to their arguments, reluctantly. Now you are entitled to some of their consideration on points that are worth much more in cold cash.

Yet another example how to trade emotions for assets because the value they gave the subject was overrated. The only limit is your imagination.

Focus: Pre-fabricate the decision

Elaborate: So giving the right amount of choices pays off. But does the advantage end there? I think not. We can steer them into the direction we want them to go.

Solution: Pre-fabricating decisions for them by making some parts more attractive than others. Use knowledge regarding their situation to be be sure of their choice.


Sales price is 899, and my indication is that they make around 100% profit on their buying price of 450:

I propose to buy:

  • One for 820

  • Three for 2050

  • Ten for 5650

Their answer will reveal their actual profit margin. And will also tell the observant negotiator how much money you, as the buyer, really want to spend. In this case the choices are pretty well-balanced. So they may accept or respond to either option. If they need money they will choose to sell ten. If they don't three is more likely.

When you aim to buy ten, just calculate according to that wish:

  • One for 770

  • Three for 2100

  • Ten for 6750

Now you present options that make them lean towards ten. Put yourself in the seller's position, and it is fun to play with numbers, also when you are selling.

There are basically three ways to look at proposals, namely from the aspects of percentage, profit or argument (a point you want to make). When you are the one creating the proposal you must be aware what you are aiming for.

In the first example they will conclude <>:

  • One for 820 <leaving a profit of 370- >

  • Three for 2050 <leaving a profit of 700- >

  • Ten for 5650 <leaving a profit of 1150- >

See? No matter how they calculate, they come up with an equal conclusion; this is a balanced proposal leaving them the option.

But in the second proposal:

  • One for 770 <leaving a profit of 320 >

  • Three for 2100 <leaving a profit of 750 >

  • Ten for 6750 <leaving a profit of 2250 >

Selling ten is the choice they are most likely to go for. Other aspects – yet unknown to you – may play a role, how much stock they have, how fast they can replace it. Expenses and turnover are important as well. If replacing stock is no problem, they will go for the third option here and sell you ten pieces.

With all examples you must keep in mind that profit margins and availability are deciding factor in calculating these choices. You may also ask your customers to give not one, but three proposals because it will make their way of thinking, moreover, their budget, much more transparent to you.

Don't be surprised if they decline because the prospect may scare them off. They may be afraid of making a mistake, walking a path they never tried before, but it is worth trying anyway.


Look at this conversation.

You, the seller: "How many are you interested in?"

Customer: "That depends on the price. The lower the price the more I'll buy. Money is no object."

You (noticing that he means the opposite.): "Okay, We have over 1000 pieces in stock."

Customer: "Oh, eh, how much do you want for, eh, 20 or 25 pieces?"

You: "You were right the first time. The more you buy, the lower the price. We can let you have 20 for 52,-, or 50 for 46,- a piece."

Customer: "I see. So I can get 30 for 1440,-?

It seems that this man has only around 1500,- to spend. Let's make sure of that!

You: "No, but I'll tell you what. Let's try doing some real business. Why don't you write down what you are willing to pay for 50, 100 and 500 pieces? Or is that too much for you?"

His answer can be:

  1. "I cannot buy more than 30 for now. Maybe later."

  2. "500? No, that's too many. I can only take 200, 250 pieces if the price is really right."

  3. He writes down, 50 pieces @ 44, 100 @ 40, 500 @ 35,-.

What do these answers tell you?

  1. Offer him 30 for 1500. He doesn't have more to spend.

  2. Here you can do a deal. Just work from his proposal.

  3. This is a sound businessman testing the waters.

This information could never be obtained so fast otherwise.

Focus: Remove or add

Elaborate:Add or remove to obtain information or to make a weak position stronger.

Solution: You have a complaint on a item that has cost you 50000?

"I want a discount of 10000 or…. Credit for 17000."

Their answer tells you what their profit is. And again you may indicate what you really want. In this proposal I wanted to buy something else. If you do not want that, you just lower the discount or raise the amount to be credited.

Are you bringing- or asking for money?

Many businessmen use the same basic method of choosing direction according to their position. You may expect them to have a different attitude towards to clients than to their suppliers. Clients bring in money, while suppliers want to be paid. Breaking this pattern can be very profitable.

Once you start dealing with a tone that doesn't quite fit you will not only stand out and gain more attention. Sellers, pleasantly surprised, are more likely to give in to you now.

Buyers will adapt to the situation too, so far they haven't bought anything because you are so nice and polite. A very slight change (that is what we are talking about) might show you off as being in a stronger position. It is always the same conclusion, a little firmer handling of clients is seen as a sign of strength. Letting them decide everything can make their position harder for them too because they will have too many choices.

Companies in key market positions lay great demands upon their customers and this just emphasises their strength.

Focus: Carrot & Stick

Elaborate: Why can't we just be nice- ornasty?

Solution: Donkeys would not go anywhere without proper use of a Carrot and Stick. This is a very rewarding method because it relates to balancing (positive and negative), and makes such perfect sense that even the victim must acknowledge it. Reward them for playing ball and punish them for being unresponsive.

Does your opponent qualify as a donkey? If he is stubborn or not paying attention…you do the math.

Once I instructed a lawyer to write a letter to someone who owed me money, and I noticed that he followed my lead pretty well. But to my surprise he was only using threats.

"We demand immediate payment and all expenses will be for his account etcetera…"

I said to him, "I see the stick but where is the carrot?"

It is very unrealistic to think you can scare anyone into doing anything without offering some benefits if he does comply.

The carrot may be small, but you should always think of his Story2Tell. Who wants to admit that he didn't want to, but he paid up because you scared him so much? This is not very likely.

Notorious bad creditors are used to getting letters from lawyers, maybe even going to court on a regular basis, so they are pretty hard to scare, they have seen it all before. It is a whole other kind of negotiation, where you do not buy or sell anything, but instead deal with debtors and creditors.

I have never been in any financial peril, but NegoLogic can easily be used for such situations.

Focus: Financial crisis meeting

Elaborate: If you owe a few million to your bank, and you don't pay, they will go through different stages. First, they'll be wondering what is going on. Then they write you or call for a meeting, trying to find a solution, re-finance, or whatever seems logical. If they see there is no solution in sight, they will take a look at your securities in case you go bankrupt.

Solution: Only after your file ends up in the stack of financial write-off's can a deal be made. The bank director must have written off at least part of your debt before he is in the right state of mind to cut their losses.

This could be a way to handle matters.

"Regretfully, things have not worked out as I had planned. On the other hand, my ideas could not have been completely off the wall, or you would not have lent me the money.

And if you hadn't, I would never have embarked on this adventure. Maybe I am wrong to think that by giving me the loan, you also assume some responsibility? If not towards me, then towards your shareholders. From a hundred times you loan money out, you already know that a certain percentage will not be able to pay it back, regardless of all good intentions.

So for the bank it is just a calculated loss that we are talking about. Included in the rate you have been charging and I have paid in for … period. For me, I happened to end up in the unlucky percentage.

Which leaves me just two options. I could either face my responsibility or walk away. I hope that we both know what kind of person I am, and that I fully intend to face my responsibility. But I must add, within reason!

You can imagine that my family and I have been through quite a lot already so just walking away actually sounds better and better. To cut a long story short, do you wish to use part of the reserve you have for cases like mine and make a deal between us that we both don't like, but can live with? Or will you force me into my second option and stand to get nothing at all?

If you keep on adding interest on fees upon debt, that is exactly what will happen. Even the most reliable person will throw his responsibility overboard just in order to survive and move onwards."

That is how the carrot and the stick principle works. Because of this, that happens. If you present your arguments in that way, it will automatically make a lot more sense. You will use the other NegoLogic techniques during the negotiation that is likely to follow this conversation.

Focus: Only ask questions if you already know the answer...

Elaborate: We make no difference to informal talk and negotiation mode and ask questions as they come up. Why is that wrong?

Solution:You may ask as many questions as you want – informally. But when the negotiation reaches the decisive part, with all participants listening carefully, then you can make the most of the weakness of the opponent's situation by asking questions only because you know that the answer will damage their position.

You have to judge how often you can get away with this, depending on the power of opposition, and their willingness to deal. Because when someone does this to you, you will find this very irritating indeed. So a strong negotiator in a solid position will not allow you to get away with this practice too often, but one that feels pressed will.

The idea is that people will change their mind according to the mood you put them in. If you make their position look stupid, they are more inclined to give in. This may or may not work. Because when irritation sets in, this method can easily backfire and make your opponent stubborn and unresponsive.

When you are faced with this situation, just answer very carefully. Lawyers are likely to ask questions while they have the answer right in front of them, so don't allow them to catch you making a mistake.

Focus: On the other hand…

Elaborate: Imagine two partners wanting to split up, and no matter how hard they try, they cannot come to any agreement as to who gets what. They value every building and car differently, mixing emotions with values. It's impossible!

Solution: Just give them both a piece of paper with all the assets on them, one by one. Behind each item they write a number, what they think it's worth. Now, that's easy enough, right?

Here is the catch because this amount goes both ways:

  • They must be willing to pay this price.

  • And to accept it!

Since they each own 50%, they pay the other half to their partner and both should be satisfied. So keep in mind to think on a different level. That is how you come to surprising solutions that really work.

Agitation and stress are paralysing brain activities, that is why stepping away from the problem is so valuable. Take a walk, go fishing of play some golf.

You simply cannot be inventive enough… because even if you still disagree, the other party must notice that you are trying hard to find a solution, while his answer remains the same, no. Can he really allow himself to be so unreasonable?

Fact 19: Proving the value of a part of the deal

establishes the value of the whole project

When you want to change your opponent's mind regarding the value, you should support this with facts. The opponent can see for himself that your view is indeed correct.


I was selling a large building, and it was hard to put a value on it – even the real estate brokers were not quite sure. There was nothing to compare with. Then I gave buyers the option to leave one apartment out of the deal. Because I was willing to keep that one apartment.

And here it comes: the value that I gave to that part complimented the value of the whole building. Making it seem like our value was under priced. What I gave up meant a lot in value and percentage for that one apartment. But as a discount on the price of the whole building it was a very minor concession.

It calculated like this. If a building has ten apartments and you want three million for the whole, you suggest keeping that part for 426.000. So, he is getting the nine remaining apartments for 2.574.000, or 286.000 per piece.

Let them do the calculation. They will soon find out that you are willing to pay (rather deduct) 42% more for the one apartment compared to the price they will pay for the remaining building.

The beauty of this is that what you are giving up is only the difference between the value and the price you propose to pay, a mere 126.000. A pittance on three million if it means this will close the deal. Even if they refuse your offer, you have shown that you value what you are selling correctly, and are willing to put your money where your mouth is.

The same technique can be used when you are buying. Offer the seller to keep a part at a lower price, so he can see that your value is indeed correct.

Focus: Put a number on it

Elaborate: Someone tells you that the machines they are selling are excellent quality and need nearly no upkeep or repair.

Solution: Then ask: "Really? Then changing your warranty from one to five years would be no problem, right?"

His answer will display the true situation:

  1. No, we cannot extend the warranty at all.

  2. We can do it, but it will cost you a bit more.

  3. We can, but it is very expensive.

This way you have gained some prime information because he is really telling you is:

  1. Our product is very unreliable. There is no telling what can happen in five years and what the repairs can cost. You must put your trust in our product because we sure don't.

  2. This is a right answer. It stands to reason they cannot do it completely free and only charge a small amount.

  3. Our product is not nearly as reliable as I wanted you to believe.

Again you have gained information that they did not want you to have and could never be obtained in any other manner.

Focus: What is left?

Elaborate: Why would it matter to me what the situation of the seller is?

Solution: It is worth considering every aspect of your opponent's position. Not only what he sells, but also what the consequences of the sale are. For instance, what he is left with.


Someone has eight chairs left of a special model, and you want to buy them all. What is the smartest approach? Try this.

"What is the price per piece?"

"Six hundred!"

"So I can buy one for six hundred? How many do you have left?"

"These are the last eight of this model. It's discontinued, so we won't get it again."

"Okay, I really want five pieces and I'm willing to pay 2200 cash."

Now they are confronted with the realization that nobody will take the remaining three off their hands. This most likely overpowers the bid you made. They are likely to address the last problem first.

"But who's going to buy my last three pieces?"

"I don't know, some odd family maybe? Wait, are you telling me that those last three are worth less than the others?"

"I sure am. How can I sell a set of three chairs?"

"Hmm, I never thought of that. Those remaining three… What do you think you can sell them for?"

"Maybe a thousand or so, maybe less."

"Okay, that's maximum of 333 per chair. That's a pretty good price. Still, I suppose that it would take a long time to even sell them for that?"

"I guess it would. So you'll understand, I'd rather not be stuck with such an odd number."

This brings you to what you really wanted, buying all eight pieces for a lower price. And what if they do not bring it up? Then the conversation just goes a bit different. People will not always address a problem if they see it as a weakness, so just ask.

"Is something wrong? Are you worried that the remaining chairs will not sell? Why not try to convince me to buy them all, and I'll just put the last three in my storage, instead of yours."

Note that I used a little trick with this sentence: "I really want five pieces and I am willing to pay 2200 cash."

A proposal consisting of two segments is likely to confuse the listener. Usually he will just address one, leaving it harder to deny the other one later. Whenever you try such a method, you will not hear the right answer very often: "In the first place I'm not interested in selling five chairs. And the price you offer is also too low!"

Focus: Shifting direction

Elaborate: If you are in the habit of leaving your clients with a fifty/fifty choice between yes and no you should consider a shift in direction.

Solution: One method is to move on to the delivery or installation issue like this: "I can see that we have an opening on Tuesday, but apart from that one we're pretty booked. Does it play a role for you, when you get it?"

Now the question isn't yes or no any more, but a matter of when.

When EU countries decided a certain flue shot was a good idea for their citizens and they encountered opposition there were suddenly articles in the papers disputing if one shot is enough. Or should there be two?

Now the question is no longer if, but how many.

Focus: I can live without it

Elaborate: It can be very hard to get a great result if you really need to close the deal for one hundred percent.

Solution: Sometimes you must ask yourself this hard question:

How bad do we need this deal?

It is all about money and emotions. During buying or selling, even your emotions should have a price. But no matter what the percentage you come up with, you must decide that you can indeed live without it or you should not be the person negotiating.

When you are selling and desperate for money, show the opposite. Talk about your vacation to an expensive hotel, and your other business interests. Remember to downsize. Get the message across: we would like to... but not at any price.

We must realise at all times that the risk of losing a deal is always present. You will negotiate a lot easier this way. Personally, I would rarely accept to negotiate any subject if the "order" is to close regardless of the terms. I want to get the basis of my valuation across, or rather not deal at all.

If you negotiate for a client:

"Now I come to an important point that every negotiator needs to ask: To which percentage do you want to close with these people?"

His answer might very well be: "100%."

"Really? And what is your wishful-thinking price?"

"3.5 million."

"And your lowest?"

"I won't go lower than 2.8 million."

"Okay, so if you want to sell for 100% that means you would also accept something like 2.2?"

"Of course not!"

"Then you do NOT want to sell for 100%. Hmm, let's see, would you settle for 2.5? No? Then for 2.6? Still no? Then your percentage of willingness to sell is not very high, about 60-70%. But forget that number. What is important is that your willingness NOT to sell is pretty high, 30-40%. And that is the number we want to remember. I can see that you understand that I cannot negotiate ANY kind of satisfying deal if your need to sell is really 100%. During negotiations, we will take some slight chances to test the willpower of the opposition. These will be calculated risks, but I must be allowed to do my job. And to reach the absolute best result for you, that's my job. Nothing less will do."

The point of this approach is to put your client in the right state of mind to reach an optimal result instead of getting carried away, or rather, falling in love with the prospect of the deal. This is the dangerous trap you must create for your opponent. Not fall into it yourself!

While instructing a client make sure he understands that in order to get the best result, you might remove yourself from your position as negotiator in order to appear more like a neutral middleman. You might seem impartial to him, and he could even think that you are not doing a very good job. Before the result is in the books, this is to be expected. NegoLogic appears so innocent that one can easily make that mistake. This aspect should play no role. Everything must be done to reach the best possible result.

And when the deal is done, do not show happiness. Because part of you is pleased, but another part is not.

When you appear too satisfied this plants suspicion, even if the duration and manner of the negotiation have been correct.

When negotiating for a third party, all you display are mixed emotions; "If you ask me, this was an okay deal for us, nothing more. But done is done!"

Or stronger: "There would have been no chance in hell you would have gotten this deal if it had been up to me. But my client wanted me to close, so... that is why you got your way."

Base your words on your true feelings because no matter how pleased you really are, there is always something that in hindsight could have been better.

And that something is his Story2Tell. He's earned it.

Focus: Stages of separation

Elaborate: Once in a while, you will hit a brick wall. Your opponent doesn't want to budge from his position. When that happens, you must run into the wall with the risk of hurting your shoulder in order to find out if it is real or not. There are several methods to do this.

Solution: Here is one way to deal with this situation. Prearrange several "stages of separation" to display how you feel instead of speaking.

  • Use a calculator with a lid. So you can close it slowly and with great importance. This price is unacceptable. That matter is closed. A clear message, the calculation of your proposal does not add up.

  • Put your pen away in a slow movement.

  • Have a folder on the table. For the same reason and procedure. This is your step two. The book is closed.

  • If they still don't react, open your attaché case to put the folder inside. I'm getting ready to leave.

  • Then put the folder inside the briefcase.

  • Slowly stand up and get ready to say goodbye.

  • Move towards the door.

Despite this elaborate act, nothing stops you from sitting down again, except a bit of pride, which we have no need for anyway. Chances are that you will be stopped long before that moment comes. And what is wrong with walking away if the situation really demands it?

These separation movements speak louder than words because everyone understands the meaning instantly. Unlike words, your movements will always appear sincere. Nobody will consider the option that you bring attributes just to make a statement. But that is exactly what you are doing.

Each stage of separation will send a electric signal to your opponent that they must take action in order for the proceedings to succeed. Everyone will recognise the effect, yet I have rarely seen anyone actually do it. It's considered a cheap move, below our standards. And that is exactly why it works.

Other ways to handle the unwilling:

  • Cut the salami on them. So this is your brick wall? That means you would say no to placing it a few centimetres further? "Not that I am offering this, mind you, but what would you say IF I did?" Once it is moved a bit, move it a bit more, and so on.

  • Explain their negative alternatives to not dealing. When they fear making mistakes, it means they feel safe by not moving an inch. We had already decided that this is an illusion. They have time and money invested and will have to invest more to get another partner to sit down with them. When they deal with you right now, they can avoid all such peril with one stroke of the pen, their signature on the dotted line.

  • Take a breather. Make them relax after the tension you inflicted. Shake your head and smile, tell a funny story, maybe like this one; "Tough, tough, tough. You are really hard as nails. You know what that reminds me off? Doing business in Spain or Portugal in the morning! Those guys drink tiny cups of ultra-strong coffee and are all hyper. No matter how reasonable my proposals, their answer was always "no". So, I was really green then, and I became desperate! Can you understand that? Then we go out for lunch, welcome drinks in their club, white wine with appetizer, red with the meat, twenty-year-old Port with dessert, and then back to the meeting room. Can you guess what happened next? Right! One deal after the other was struck! So from that moment onwards, I never tried any dealings in the morning, we would talk and I would mention numbers, never mind what they were….I already knew the answer. What I am trying to say….Drinks anyone?"

Focus: Strength or disinterest?

Elaborate: They don't want to make a deal. Sometimes it can be hard to find what their reason is, but why does it matter as long as their answer is negative?

Solution: People who refuse to negotiate are usually portrayed as extremely strong, but this is certainly not always the case.

Reasons for not wanting to negotiate:

  • Fear of losing. This person has been burned in the past and expects everyone to get the better of him. That is enough to clam him up! He will never admit this weakness to anyone but simply refuses to negotiate. Take his deal, or leave it.

  • Unable. If someone cannot pay more or accept less, because he is limited financially. If he has a mortgage of 700.000 and you want to pay 550.000… forget it. Not every deal can be accomplished.

  • The money plays no role. There are two kinds of situations where this is the case; if he has too much money, or he has not nearly enough. In the first case: would you be willing to negotiate for the amount of twelve dollars? Of course not! It simply is not worth your time. That is how a very wealthy person thinks about twelve thousand or hundred twenty grand; he makes or loses that much in a New York minute on the stock market.


Make the negotiation a game. "I understand that this amount has no meaning to you, and I wish I could say the same. So we have established that you are extremely successful. But that also means that your time IS money. How would you like to avoid having to deal with another loser like me? Not having to put another advertisement in and answering numerous phone calls. I can save you that time, that trouble, and that money!"

Am I really the only one to want this deal?

Another way to handle this is asking that question aloud. Because if that is the case, there is nothing lost. "So you don't care either way, is that it? The only person at this table who want this to be solved.. is me -and me alone? Sorry, but if that's the case we are both wasting our time. The only word you expected to hear from me was yes? Is that likely to happen with me or anyone else, for that matter?" Then lighten the mood and your tone of voice, lean forward, "Why don't we settle this now in a way that we are both unsatisfied with. Here's what I can do for you..."

Focus: False brick wall

Elaborate: After you have made your offer the seller tells you that they have another buyer.

Solution: It is wrong from a negotiators view to be placed into a position that you have to bid up against an invisible, maybe non-existing competitor. Nothing good can come from doing that.


Point out their worse-case scenario. How they can lose both potential buyers by pushing them too far. Explain that you have financing already in place. If they choose to wait for the other buyer to clear his finances, you will take immediate action by looking for alternatives. So by the time the other one lets them down, you might very well be off the market. You might not submit the highest bid, but you offer a secure sale.

And if your price is right, that means the higher bidder is in the wrong. What kind of businessman pays too much? The one who is not spending his own money. This could explain why he also does not have finances in place and might be seen as in indication that he never will be able to raise the money because his price is too high! No bank will loan him on this basis. Explain this logic to the seller in a way like you are aware he considers this already.

The risk that you lose this deal is certainly real, more than in any other case. If your need to close is very high, you might even offer a one-time raise with a short time to respond.

I would not advise anyone to try to outbid others in a bidding war. If you cannot show that your deal stands out all you can do is roll over. This has nothing to do with negotiating.

There is another option that I would personally never use. You could close the deal on the wrong basis and delay the paper work by always adding new demands after the old ones have been met. If this takes long enough the other buyer could very well be off the market before your opponents realise that you will keep on playing them until you have them back where you started financially.

Likely, by then they are beyond being in love with the result. What happens to a company about to be sold? They lose their grip on the business. Usually this is of little consequence because the new owners pick it up again but if proceedings are delayed indefinitely the sellers may find it hard to return to business as usual. Their mind was already set to move on to something else.

Focus: Pitfall

Elaborate: Another example of a method I would never use, a phony negotiation to get rid of your competition at zero cost.

Solution: Just as you cannot lose what you never had, it is far better to know where you stand instead of remaining in the dark. This is the same problem again that once you have too much invested in a lie, you can no longer afford to deal with the truth any more This is a very dangerous trap because the situation sneaks up on you.

I had several dealings with a Dutch company that was very successful in their field in Europe. But when we talked about their new collection, there was a noticeable silence, and after a while the sales director admitted that they were about to be taken over by a huge competitor from USA. For this reason, there was no new collection created because they would share the collection from the soon-to-be mother company.

The Americans had contacted them because they wanted to get into the European market with their own operation, while so far they only had agents to sell for them. So they picked the brain of this company and had been allowed to do this.

Then the talk evolved into takeover plans and a letter of intent was drawn up by the American lawyers. The Dutch company had to supply more information all the time. Who were their biggest customers*? Both parties decided that the collection for next year would be entirely created by the American company.

* This seems common practice in some parts of the USA. When I was dealing with head offices of big brand names, they presented a form to fill out while you were waiting to meet the sales director. Questions like: Where do you buy, for how much and who do you sell to? I was utterly amazed that anyone would be willing to supply such information and refused to do so with the following comment; "Sorry, but I have an appointment to purchase goods. Now I understand that you wish to take over the goodwill of my company? Everything is possible, but how much do you offer for this most valuable information?" Then this particular problem was solved very quickly with a knowing smile.

What worried me was that no actual contract had been signed. Meanwhile, there were new details and more questions all the time. The sales director had heard this was normal with takeovers. Now the new collection was late and customers were wondering, with a trade show coming soon and they had nothing to display.

He found it irritating. But I was afraid it was a lot more serious than that. Of course no contract was ever signed and the Dutch company, instead of swimming in dollars, ended up drowning in debt. Having missed a whole season of sales, they went into bankruptcy . Nearly all personnel were fired, as they slimmed down to a handful to survive this terrible blow. Which they managed. But they were unable to regain the position they had, because now the Americans were on the market.

In some circles this concept of "keeping your options open" is more or less a standard procedure. You could successfully argue that this is not fair, but the general feeling is that if you are stupid enough to fall for it, you deserve what is coming.

So be aware of stalling negotiations that take forever. If both parties really are serious, they will deal without unnecessary delay. Surrendering know-how on basis of a Letter of Intent is madness. It is nothing more than a non-committal sign of having a certain intention that may- or may not become reality.

Just because not all aspects are in place yet there is no need to delay the negotiation. For instance if you are waiting for the latest sales figures, a good solution would be to ask the buyer what is the minimum they can accept. These numbers have to be feasible because they are the basis for an addition to the contract. Both parties will correct the price if the numbers are completely different. So if the numbers are better, the buyers pay more, and if figures disappoint, they get a fair deduction.

Focus: Putting your foot down!

Elaborate: Must we always - under all circumstances - remain reasonable and go through the motions of a whole negotiation?

Solution: No, certainly not. You can give too much credit where there is none due. Negotiating means there is something to talk about. Something to settle. This is not always the case.

So how tough may you become? Very tough if the situation calls for it. I once received a message that the 4000 pieces of clothing that I had bought (and which would make me great profit) by mistake had now become only 1200 pieces. The rest had been shipped to the wrong customer and it was too costly to get it back, they said.

My reaction was swift. I informed them in clear terms that I had already sold the whole lot onwards, and the customer was not as friendly as I was. They insisted that I replaced the order with goods for the same discount price, and that would cost me more than the order was worth. I had no other choice but to keep this company financially responsible for their breach of contract.

Now there was a fight! I wondered, what had taken place here? It wasn't hard to figure out. Of course I had bartered the lowest price and the first customer who came in after me had been willing to pay more. It was even less surprising that the director had agreed.

In the beginning of a business relationship, you will have to react with strong measures or this pattern will be repeated again and again. A meeting followed. The director was the rare kind of businessman who wasted no time on small talk or politeness. We conducted business with knives on the table, and I received compensation in the shape of goods to the same value, but it was not easy. I was forced to threaten him with taking the matter up with the national export office, who had introduced our companies. This did not scare him in the least, he said. Before giving in on basis of his generosity.

Putting your foot down later needs the relationship repairing in most cases, just not with this guy. Usually you would have the need to explain that you were put in a hard position and left without alternatives.

Focus: Free choice!

Elaborate: We know that by offering multiple choices you are showing that you are reasonable. Is that your only angle?

Solution: No. The basis of these alternatives can consist of rephrasing the same basic proposal with very minor changes. How daring you can be depends very much on the quality of your opposition.


They offer you a product for 495. You want to buy 100 pieces for 430 per piece. If you just make that offer, you might seem inflexible and tough to deal with. Only a seller in a tight spot will accept such an offer, with or without dispute.

But once you offer choices:

  1. We can buy 10 pieces for 455. Payment 90 days with 2% discount.

  2. We can take 50 pieces for 445. Payment 60 days with 2% discount.

  3. Or we will buy 100 pieces for 430 with immediate payment with 3% discount.

  4. Or 250 pieces for 395 with right to return unsold items within 6 month for full refund. Payment 60 days.

You handed them no less than four options. But do they all make equally sense? Of course not. They are not supposed to.

Point four is there for your argument's sake only: "If you really believe that your article is so sell able, why not pick that option?" In fact, nobody in their right mind would do so. They are much more likely to go for number 3 and be inclined to argue the proposed 3% discount. You added this to be surrendered anyway.

Listen to how they argue their case in order to decide your next step. If they seem eager to get the order, you may stand firm or give in the extra 1% and settle for just 2%. That makes them feel they have the better of the deal because you pay cash.

The other point to notice is that you complicate the offer just enough to make is harder for them to decline every option. In conversations this always works perfectly, just as I pointed out before, but it works even better in writing. By trying to stand by their position, they will appear unreasonable if it means saying no to all options.

Focus: Like you just said….

Elaborate: Repeating has a strange and mesmerizing effect on us. We like to hear our own words repeated because it shows that the other side has been listening, and they agree with us. Is there more advantage to be gained?

Solution: Yes, at a lower level of competition you might also try to change the whole meaning of their words.

While at a higher level, you will only bend the meaning a bit.

And on the highest platform of opposition, you just agree with whatever fits into your own line of arguments. Then you use his words and fill in the arguments that you want to use; now you have made it very hard for him to disagree.


You are selling a house. The buyer said he has seen another house down the street with a newer kitchen for only 10.000 more. And the costs of rebuilding your kitchen he estimates at least at 30.000. So he is carefully trying to get you to deduct the difference from your price. According to the size of his antenna, use one or more of these answers:

  • "That's a valid point you made there! That means here you pay only 20.000 more for a completely new kitchen, created to your heart's desire. That's a great deal, because the other kitchen may be new, but never really the way you want it. I can understand why anyone would prefer this house to the other one."

  • "You really did your homework. That part of the street is getting lower prices than over here, and that has always been the case. It was when I bought it, and it will be again if you ever wish to sell it. Even with the newer kitchen, it should be priced lower than my house."

  • "Perfectly true. Like you just said, all that needs work here is the kitchen. You won't need to spend very much on anything else."

  • "And you are quite right, the sooner the kitchen is done, the better for you. And we are perfectly willing to accommodate you if you wish to get started as soon as possible. Although a later takeover would suit us better."

See what happens? He is waiting for your reaction, and expects an argument. But the first words leaving your mouth are so promising he will listen with full attention.

"That's a valid point you made there!"

"You really did your homework."

"Perfectly true."

"And you are quite right."

Music to the ears of anyone who is trying to make a point that he hopes will financial benefit his case. Then the twisting of their wording pulls the rug from under him.

Strangely enough, very few people will argue, "That is not at all what I meant!" They are much more likely to nod or smile because you are now effectively trading emotions for money.

Don't be surprised when they try again, "Still, 20.000 more for a new kitchen. That's a lot of money to spend on top of the price."

Answer: "Changing kitchens or bathrooms are very personal matters. Nobody can decide for you what your taste is, or how much you want to spend, and when you want to do it. Everything is operational as it is. So you don't have to do anything right away. If you cannot afford the expenses right now, you can easily wait and use the kitchen for a year or two as it is. Then you saved 10.000 for the moment. And think for a moment of my position. What if someone else comes along who loves our kitchen just the way it is? And gets the house for 10.000 less? That has to be one of our considerations."

Focus: Dealing with limited resources

Elaborate: Sometimes people make offers based on what they can afford, not the true value.

Solution: "No money" makes it pointless to negotiate. So we must determine what the true situation is. This is easy enough. If you suggest moving the price even a little bit and their options are indeed exhausted, they won't be able to accept.


I was trying to sell a large property. A buyer offered almost 20% under the asking price.

My response was: "How did you get to that number? Because to me it seems that it is based on the highest amount you can raise, instead on the value of the property."

As you might expect, nobody wants you to know they are unable to raise enough money. His hesitation and facial expression were clear enough so I had my answer. There was no point trying after that.

This is not the end of the negotiation. No money doesn't mean no assets. See if he has anything else to trade with.

Focus: Would you like to cook your chicken in my soup?

Elaborate: Does every argument needs to make sense?

Solution: Every proposal during negotiations should sound reasonable. But if you think a bit longer, some just don't add up.

Some people are experts in finding arguments that simply have no real basis but sound fair anyway. If it comes down to value, we all too often accept that we must pay more because another person thinks it is worth more- or less than we had in mind. But why should this concern us if he is not standing next to us selling for less or buying for more? So these references, because that is all they are, should have absolutely no bearing on your position.

Focus:Price hunters

Elaborate: Some people go from one place to the other comparing and mixing offers. Don't we hate that?

Solution: Listen carefully -once- before cutting that exit short.


"Your car is only worth 17.000 to me, because there is one - just like it - in the paper for that price!"

"I see. And I happen to know that this seller has someone with him, right at this moment, who wants to buy. But he refuses to sell. Do you know why?"

"No. Why?"

"Because he has seen that I have mine for sale for 19.000. And that's the right price for this car. I'm not selling his, and he's sure as heck not selling mine. So if you want to buy his car, you went to the wrong address. Good luck."

What we show here is a principle. You may not let someone else decide in your stead. According to your wish to deal you can consider making the buyer this offer:

"Listen, I simply won't let someone else decide the value of my car. You don't know the state the cheaper one is in anyway. So, there's no deal for his price. Or we can both take a chance right now and meet around the halfway mark. This 19.000 is my price when I get someone else in an hour. And also your price when you return with your tail between your legs because that other car looks terrible with dents, rust and bad repairs. So you can have this one now and only now for 18.350."

You invite him to answer: "But you said we would meet halfway. That's 18.000, not 18.350!"

"Around the halfway mark, were my words. I cannot drop the price a whole grand for no reason. Really, 18.350 is the best I can do, and believe me, the moment you turn your back, the deal is off. I am already sorry I went this far. Part of me is hoping you will say no because I can only do better with someone else."

Just between us, that last 350 can be surrendered because it was added to show that people only hear what suits them. The predictable answer; "Halfway is 18.000!" can be seen as an offer and accepted as such. Because you shifted the issue.

But because this could backfire ("I did not mean it that way"), I choose the other option and let them fight for the last 350. You invited him to take that position and forget all about the price of the other car.

Focus: Invite remarks that compliment your case

Elaborate: Wouldn't it be great if you could make them say- or think positive sentences.

Solution: This can be accomplished by leaving an opening on purpose.


If you give a total listing, leave out one obvious part because that happens to be the strongest ace up your sleeve.

They will think you left it out for the opposite reason. They will be expecting weakness and demand to see it. An ace like that works even better after it has had a bit of time to mature. They are all excited that they have found such a strong argument against you. They have been contemplating how bad the figures could be… and then the positive result hits home even more. Nothing works as strong as doubt removed.

Focus: The power of the unspoken word

Elaborate: We realise that the spoken word alone does not carry a lot of weight, and also that our choice wording can easily give the opposite effect.

Solution: Their unspoken words carry a huge power because they uncover hidden information. You may expose weaknesses in others by putting them in a position that they should speak up. Because if they do not, it shows as a weakness on their part.

Fact 20: Unspoken words can reveal the true situation


There is a building for sale, the price is around five million. After having the structure checked, the buyer states to the eager seller that the rebuilding could easily cost him two million.

Seller acts shocked: "No, not that much!" The buyer waits a few weeks before offering four million, one million less than the asking price. And he is right.

By NOT saying the right words: "You would spend only two million? I could spend a lot more, maybe a platform for my helicopter, or golden doorknobs. But that is hardly the point, is it? What counts is what is it WORTH after you spend it. This house is very under priced!" Instead, the seller left the suggestion that a deduction of around half of the mentioned two million might be acceptable. So that became the basis for his offer.

Whatever you are thinking, it shows in those words you do not say. When hunting for such weaknesses, you may very well invite opponents to say those right words, and if they don't… you will know exactly what they are hiding from you.

Thislack of the right reaction creates a strong negotiation position. When your counter-party does not contradict, by not saying the right words, they show their hand is weak.


I was asked to make an offer on a large stock, and I stalled for a while because I knew they had a deadline.

There is a danger in this procedure, that they will ask someone else to make an offer as well. For that reason I kept them informed that my offer was forthcoming… but what offer? I needed more information – exactly the kind they didn't want me to have.

Meanwhile, knowing that I would indeed come up with a proposal kept them from asking anyone else. Not asking anyone else kept them from getting a better price; so meanwhile in my head the value kept dropping all the time. The son of the director met me during that period. He received a nice treatment, lunch, dinner, drinks and a pleasant harmless conversation, right? NOT!

I threw in a few lines that he needed to answer with the right words.

"About that stock. I told your father there will be an offer. But we both know that I will be married to your leftovers for years to come." PAUSE. No reaction.

"So my offer has to be based on that fact, of course."

PAUSE. Then he answered: "I guess so."

The son thought that he had a great meeting, and that he personally performed very well. His father called him while we were in the car together, so I could understand from his careful answers that I was indeed the subject.

"Yes, everything is going fine."

I agreed, fine for me!

When it was time to make my offer, I took the lowest of all possibilities and explained how I arrived at that number. Instead of talking about money I offered a percentage and let their own friendly calculator come up with the result. I also offered some alternatives I knew they could not accept. Like a higher price for a certain part (they had to clear everything). They had waited until the last moment to receive my offer, now they had to agree, and they sure did. They would never realise that unspoken words had cost them a lot of money…

Focus: Hostile ground or home town advantage

Elaborate: Many businessmen prefer to meet on their own turf – their office or showroom. They feel ill at ease at your place of business or even in a neutral environment. In his office everything is made to fit his needs. His arsenal might even include some cheap tricks that are intended to make you feel small, like an uncomfortable chair, while his is also placed higher than yours. If you think that after Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" this would no longer be used, think again!

Solution:Imagine how scared this man really is. The more protection he has, the more he has need for it. Maybe he needs more people on his side of the table.

I have known businessmen who never met anywhere else, and I loved to meet them at their place rather than my own. Why?

Because if you take this advantage away from them, they may have very little confidence left. People who feel at ease are much more accessible for the techniques in this book. Stress or even uneasiness can make a person deaf beyond any method. This belongs to being generous with emotions- it always pays off.

Focus: Hostile timing

Elaborate: He decides when, so you must wait for him. Keeping you waiting is a likely procedure. It means: we are busy (important) and you are not. They are taking home town advantage.

Solution: Your reaction:

    "That's fine. I have work to do." Take out some papers and calculate. At first ignore them when it is time to pick you up because now you're busy.

    "That's fine. I have an important phone call to make." You may choose to go outside and tell the reception where you can be found.

    "That's fine. Where is your bathroom?"

But your patience goes only so far. When it takes over fifteen minutes and there is no explanation given, you should respond, "Do they know that I'm still waiting?" And even later, "Listen, I have been waiting for twenty minutes. Can you call them and let them know that time is running out? I do have other appointments…"

Focus: Time, fatigue, hunger

Elaborate: Taking advantage can become most extreme. They tire you out. Hunger, thirst, sun in your eyes.

Solution: Be firm and tell them what is bothering you. They may act very surprised, but need to solve the issue. Do not make decisions when you are tired. End the meeting until the next day in order to rest.

Focus: Cultural differences

Elaborate: So many cultures, how can we keep track? Why does it matter?

Solution: A short study into the local habits can be very helpful and should be part of preparations. When asked for difference between Oriental and American negotiations, I always give this example. An American businessman lands in Japan to close an important deal and is met at the airport. The driver works for the Japanese company and asks politely if the buyer had a good flight.

"Very pleasant."

"And when will you return?"

"In three days."

During this seemingly innocent conversation, a major piece of intelligence was gained, and the next day's meeting was postponed because the Japanese director had taken ill.

Very unfortunately indeed.

During the next two days the reasons varied, but the final result was that the American buyer was forced to sign the contract in the limousine on the way to the airport. Needless to say that the terms were not nearly as favourable as he could have accomplished during a three-day negotiation, to put it mildly.

All the intelligence they needed had been surrendered during the innocent conversation during the drive from the airport.

So while we must assume that during the negotiation our adversaries will act predictably careful, this is not the case during breaks. Especially after a nerve-racking moment you stand to benefit from a light story, a joke, a change of atmosphere.

Focus: Non-present decision-maker

Elaborate:Some negotiators prepare all details, but still need final approval from their boss. This man is far too important to attend the proceedings. They are likely to tell you that the official 'yes' will be just a formality. But with all details in place, they take matters to the board of directors and the result can be turned down by them. Then IF you agree to some changes, and the same thing happens again! Now they want something else. This old sidetrack still works like a charm, especially among professionals.

Why does it work? Because at all times, the deal seems almost in the bag!

They bank on the idea that you will not want to give it up any more, being so close, while they use the salami technique on you. So every time, you need to give in a bit more.

To my amazement, this method was used at the highest level of business, with the minister of finance being personally involved. Let's not mention names.

Solution:Do not accept ANY major changes afterwards. Refuse to negotiate further without the real decision-maker at the table. There is much more than a principle at stake here. What is the point of negotiations if the result can be altered afterwards? Giving in to aftermath changes leads to nothing positive.

Focus: Call me a liar

Elaborate: If you are about to offer six hundred thousand and the seller tells you that he paid seven-fifty, how do you proceed? He just made it impossible to present your offer. Otherwise you must call yourself unreasonable or him a liar. That is his trick.

Solution:"Did you really?" Then choose your position according to the market situation and your gut feeling:

  • "Unfortunately, this is what it's worth to me now. You'll simply have to weigh my offer against the security of the sure sale that I bring to the table."

  • "That was then, this is now. I guess you also made money in other situations, and that's life. The question is, do you wish to deal now, or do I take my cash to my other option?"

  • "Yes, the price went down. But I expect it to go down a lot more. So wait if you want, that is up to you."

As you might expect, his argument is usually not truthful. If someone really was losing money, it is more likely that he would keep it to himself. I knew a businessman who did this every time, and he was always threatening to get the invoice to show me, expecting that I would decline politely. Whenever I said: "Okay, go get it, I'll wait here!" he would just change the subject and close the deal with me anyway.

Focus: My silent partner

Elaborate: Some of these partners are extremely silent and quite invisible as well. In other words, they don't exist. Nevertheless, this method often works like a charm because it shifts the blame to another person who is not there to face the heat. So both parties at the negotiation table can be seen as innocent of obstructing the proceedings; "I would accept your offer, but my partner would go bananas!"

Solution:"Call and ask him. And if your partner really reacts like that, I would like a word with him. Because this is the very best I can offer. Let me explain it to the person who seems to decide."

Or according to the market situation:

"Oh, we cannot have that! Imagine being responsible for partners breaking up. Still, would he really be happier if I just walked away? I can do one more step into your direction. But that is my final offer, or I will get in trouble with my own split-personality!"

Because this is not a serious manner of negotiating you are allowed to make fun of it. There are only two possibilities, either you are facing a person who speaks the truth and really cannot make the decision. Then there is no harm done anyway. Or he is just playing an act that requires two, all alone.

Focus: Dealing with disrespect

Elaborate: When I was young and inexperienced, I found myself in a row of sweating salesmen. Every one of us was waiting their turn to appear in front of a committee of twelve store owners. When it was finally my turn to enter, most of the group kept on talking right through my presentation. They gathered once a week to listen to a huge number of sellers. There was almost no interest on their part with so many offers.

Their leader would try: "Okay, does anyone want those Wrangler jackets?" And addressing me: "What did you say you want for them, was it ten?" I had said thirty-five, so then you know the tone of the parade. Before I knew what had happened, I found myself out on the street again.

This happened only once.

Solution: The next time, I stood there and refused to speak until everyone had shut up. Some would stop talking and ask me to start my sales pitch; I just looked at the ones who were still talking until I had gained the attention of the whole room. You can imagine this was an unpleasant moment, lasting minutes.

That way I ended up selling to them on a regular basis. The next week it took much shorter for them to become silent. "Oh, it's him again!" They found it slightly amusing to meet a cheeky kid who took no nonsense.

You should never act in a predictable manner, or you will always be one in that long line of sweaty salesman. Never allow anyone to disrespect you. Not because you are less of a person when it happens or because it makes you feel bad, but because it gives negative results.

The sound of silence

You have noticed that I used silence as a weapon in order to achieve respect and attention.

It stands to reason that if you speak all the time, people will listen less and less. Speak more rarely and your words will have a higher value. The best way is a combination; keep the negotiation running but take pauses when they are called for. Once in a while change your pace, adjust your tone, and your posture; all this will make sure you keep their attention at all times.

There is no point using the right words if you don't gain attention first. That is the reason so many people just speak to themselves. Their words only make sense to them. No healthy exchange of arguments is taking place if both parties fail to impress each other.

Using silence is by no means unique; it is a rather standard negotiation technique. So you may expect to face people who will try it out on you.

And why not? There is that moment after you presented your case, and if the contents or the mannerism has shocked your adversary. There will be silence.

Most of us get the urge to start talking because we experience this as uncomfortable. But you are not at a cocktail party. You are in active negotiation mode.

Rest assured that the first person who opens his mouth displays weakness. If you have said all there is to say you can only undermine your position, uncomfortable or not.

Remember that loud speaking or screaming are signs of feeling unsure and weak. A fear of being misunderstood leading to mutual hostility. Put the person at ease and repeat his words in a calm tone, so he feels that you understand him. Bend the meaning to advance your position.

Chapter 8

Driving it Home

Focus: If it comes too easy, it isn't worth having

Elaborate: We pursue what we need for good reasons. The stagnant individual accomplishes very little in business or in life.

The more important the issue is to us, the further we are willing to go.

For you it is not just an order, but THE order.

It isn't a job, but THE job.

Not just a girl but maybe your future wife.

More often than not you will have steep hills to climb because:

The buyer knows he does not want to buy from you.

The employer doesn't want to hire you

and the girl knows instantly she could never fall for you.

Why do you have such bad luck?

You don't. These people are just performing the role you handed them. Whoever gets pursued must run away, otherwise there can be no chase.

The person in question will explain this attitude impulsively.

"Not interested!" and "You are not the right person."

This may be blatantly untrue. The problem lies elsewhere, namely with the fact that it was YOU who approached them instead of the other way around.

So let's face the real problem:

It's inconceivable that someone rings your doorbell to deliver a bag filled with gold

Solution: If there are such treasures, then we must find them at great personal effort and expense. Our travel must be be far and preferably uncomfortable or the object isn't worth seeking.

We must take the trouble to find the right supplier, suffer the expenses to hire a head-hunting company or be so lucky to stumble upon our partner by accident.

Now here is a funny fact, because if that person happens to be..... you, then you have become instantly acceptable. YOU. The very same person that they declined earlier...

Because whatever comes easy must be without value.

Preconceived notions that are injected into everyone

Lack of effort on their part is such a huge problem that makes it impossible to give away money.


We must go back to the time of counter purchases with Eastern Europe. After importing textiles for many years my father became one of the rare specialists, trading the obligations to counter purchase against payment. If you delivered machines, you had to buy back for instance frozen chickens or Lada's.

What did a factory want with poultry or cars? That was why my father traded the obligation to buy with someone else, who was already dealing with those products. For that reason, if you were so lucky to be approached by him, you really were offered money for nothing. Because you were already importing the product, and now he offered you a premium to take over the obligation of another party. Some companies he approached were apprehensive at first, just because of the fact that he approached them. That meant he wanted something.

So what's the catch? There wasn't one! That was sometimes a hard sale and one time the directors simply blew him off. "No, we don't need any of that."

He explained it once more, how they didn't have to do anything and he would even perform all the paperwork but their answer remained the same. So he left their showroom in disbelieve. If the situation had been different and they had contacted him instead, the same meeting would consist of smiles and handshakes. Now - just because he contacted them - the hill became impossible to climb.

How can we break this vicious circle? Here are a few suggestions:

I choose you

Expressing your feelings does not seem necessary, they are usually so obvious that you cannot imagine anyone else could be unaware. Yet this is the case. What you should express is that they have your preference. That you have options but choose them over others. It is extremely rare for anyone to wonder why you praise them. It will be accepted as a sincere compliment and you as a person of better insight than they gave you credit for. You have raised your value in their eyes on account of your great judgement.

Getting this order is important to you because the buying company represents the client you always wanted. The position is everything you ever aspired in life. The girl is your one chance to taste a slice of heaven. But the problem is they don't know it until you express it. Many times a dark cloud will be lifted once the obvious statement is out there.

Add a hurtle or two

The fact that you approached them makes your pitch appear too desperate, making their answer negative. So add complications. "Before going any further with this, there is something we need to talk about..."

Be mysterious

Going straight to the heart of the matter rarely works because it puts the weight of the whole relationship on the result.

While it might really belongs there this may not be so obvious. Making it less easy for them to write the order, obtain your signature underneath adds to the excitement that is needed. Remember that nobody wants to become member of a club that desperately needs them for survival. So the mixed message is, you choose them over others, yet there are also reasons that their yes doesn't close the deal. Not just yet.

Focus: The negotiation that isn't one

Elaborate: So far we have been dealing with situations where there is a lot to be gained or lost. But now we are forced to look at the nightmare for the professional negotiator, when you are limited in your options.

If you must purchase a very exact package of items and you are dealing with a factory that sells at prices that truly are based on material, productions costs and a bit of profit.

Now what?

There seems no room to move for either party.

Solution: A negotiation is a situation where two parties meet with the intention to reach an agreement.

Now we must add; "...and the means to barter."

Where there is nothing to be gained even the best method cannot be of any help. Or can it?

First we must establish that there really is no room to move. Knowing you are meeting such a case, prepare a list of demands that all orders must meet and make sure that it appears to be a brick wall. Large companies have these lists, sometimes pages long. These are absolute requirements, but not really.

The buyer can change these rules if the deal is too good, or too important to let go.

Here are just a few examples of such demands.

  • Each item needs price labels attached.

  • Each segment needs to be delivered separately to the branches.

  • The order for 50% (or another percentage) is an option that is to be kept in stock by the factory, and delivered on call.

The factory will likely argue and protest. Especially that last point is quite expensive. And that's all it is, about money.

A very good way to find out if their margin is really as tight as it appears to be.

While the two of you are discussing point by point, you will gain a better insight what is possible- and may consider to drop one or more parts, in order to deduct the attached expenses from the price. We take advantage of variables, parts that are worth more to one party than to the other. More bargaining chips are manner of payment. Maybe 90 days, part 60 days or some discount for payment within 10 days.

So you see that we always deal with the same problems, whenever we meet a real brick wall, it is because the deal is too simple. Complicating in a way that relates to money is a good option to find alternatives to change the price. And let's not forget that there are many different ways to calculate expenses.

EXAMPLE: construction job.

The segments are materials and labour, but both are flexible.

The contractor may show you the costs of materials, but he is getting a discount from his supplier. This can differ from country to country and even locally, anything between 5 and 30 percent. He will calculate labour at his selling price per hour. He is paying much less to the actual workers. Again, this may vary but his profit can be as high as 100% or more.

To be fair, if the work takes longer while you have a firm price, the extras come out of his own pockets, but there is room there, as they may be very deep.

Live and let live?

It may very well apply here. You cannot bleed people dry in the above situation, or you might pay the consequences. You will end up on the bottom of their list which can mean delays, or a lesser quality of work.

But there is some fat to be cut, often more than one may think.

Focus: Virtual expenses

Elaborate: Sometimes the real costs of the product are unclear to you, like with Internet services. If we call everything that you cannot hold in your hand fried air, then Internet becomes very interesting.

Solution: We lack the imagination to foresee a huge internet firm going up in smoke, so unreal estate on a Virtual planet sell for real money, just like some avatars. If you don't know what I'm talking about, good for you! Stay among the sane a moment longer.

Meanwhile some companies invest in clicks, or worse, in viewings. I am not saying you cannot make money that way, but it seems wise to stay conservative.

They do it with mirrors.

I guess it is time to see past the magic and look at the total picture we have painted. Maybe at moments you have been thinking that this NegoLogic might be a bit far fetched, or too hard for you.

Imagine that you are going to a ballgame to see your favourite team. You have decided beforehand that you want them to win. At that moment, this winning is all that matters to you. If they happen to lose you already know that you will feel very miserable leaving the stadium. So you know for sure that your mood for the night will depend on the team's result.

Then something extraordinary happens, like a hot air balloon lands in the middle of the field, or you find a brown paper bag under your chair with fifty thousand bucks in it… or your favourite movie star sits down right next to you!

What happens is that suddenly the outcome of the game does not matter any more because unexpected happenings blow that importance out of the water. You will remember that unexpected event for the rest of your life, not the outcome of the game.

Now you are going to negotiate with every intention of reaching your objectives; that is all that matters to you.

You know for sure that your mood afterwards will depend on the final outcome.

But you also realise that your opponent wants the same as you; he wants to win also. So mentally you tough yourself up for a battle. Someone has to give, and it won't be you!

Then something extraordinary happens. Instead of disagreeing, this unusual person validates your position and mentions his own weaknesses.

The atmosphere lightens. As time passes you feel validated as a negotiator, and as a person. You come home one huge positive experience richer. And the result of the negotiation? Well, some new information came to light, prompting you to change your position a bit. But yeah, you won the negotiation, of course you did. He even said so.

NegoLogic is all about is making such an impression that you distract them from that one issue – money – and shift their attention to other aspects that your opponent values even higher. He himself is not aware of that fact and would never admit it. His pride and self-worth is being pampered while a balanced sequence of events is taking place. Because of this, that happens.

He found himself in an absolute equilibrium because he and his stand in the negotiation were as one. When his position was attacked, he personally felt under enemy fire.

Now, none of that has taken place.

Money becomes a part of the whole experience, nothing more. Your opponents are personally confirmed and corrected, weighed and appreciated. They had to climb some hills. Somehow, they feel really good about their own performance. As time passes, this is what they will remember instead of the agreed price.

Along the way to success you will make mistakes.

Fact 21: It is only a mistake if you repeat it

Often people think, "I would rather die than admit it..." when it concerns their failures.

We would rather look the other way, at the mistakes of others. Here are some reasons to acknowledge your mistakes and take pride in the fact you have found such a weakness.

  • The basis of NegoLogic is that there is no night without day. Well, there is also no weakness without strength.

  • When you fail to admit your mistakes, you cannot cure yourself from that illness. So you will fall prey to it again and again.

  • Embrace the weaknesses and analyse them. Hold them under the bright light and guess what? The news isn't bad at all.

I can clarify this with an observation that cannot be more personal from my own career as businessman. There are two ways to look back at my accomplishments. Both are completely true, just seen from another angle.


Of a group of successful self-made businessmen, I handed in the least impressive financial results. Others made more money, and faster than I did. When they had multiple stores and wholesale companies, all I had was one company. Among these winners, I am a loser.


All these businessmen have gone bankrupt at least once. They over-extended their financial affairs and burrowed heavily in order to make their fast rise possible. I just used my own money and never had any bank involved in financing my stock. I bought cars, even real estate with cash in hand, thus remained the master of my own fate. Among those losers, I am a winner.

Your weakness IS your strength

When you look into the mirror, you must decide what style of dealing you are most comfortable with, and what fits you best. It is usually not a good idea to force yourself into a manner of dealing that does not suit your character.

These self-made businessmen take huge chances or they would not be able to gain such results so fast. You notice I make that distinction, self-made.

That is because only people with an unspoiled brain can manage this kind of insane greatness. You must think different from anyone else, that is why people without any traditional schooling perform so much better (and worse) than others. Well-educated businessmen are much more likely to act "from the book". They fear all dangers that an autodidact might underestimate.

On the other hand, getting a formal education is often a solid basis for mediocrity. Once you learn to count 1,2,3,4, to hundred, you will not be able to change your ways. A newcomer might jump from 3 to 7 to 12. Allowing himself short cuts that seem impossible because he never learnt it could not be done. That same greatness is often his undoing.

So no matter what you find is "wrong" with you, just embrace it. Exploit it and make the most of it.

Fact 22: No deal is finalised until the fat lady has signed, sealed, and delivered

Who takes decisions all alone and never talks to anyone about it? Nobody does!

And here lies a sleeping danger, and a possible strength.

After you have done the deal and shook hands on it, then you go home and celebrate. During the next days and weeks, the deal has to be finalized and details put in writing, signed, certified, financed, etc.

Even at this stage something can go wrong.

Suddenly there are some added points you cannot agree on. Even after changes there are suddenly other matters that are not acceptable. They seem to have a new problem for every solution. Yes, the whole deal is in danger of being blown off.

The Story2Tell

What you may have missed is to supply your opponent with the right Story2Tell. You must decide what the reaction of others will be when your opponent tells them the outcome of the negotiation. Their reaction can make him doubt. A second and third similar response might urge him to retract the deal.

You can predict how his listeners will respond to his story. Will their thumb point up or downwards? That story2tell is up to you.

When you use the NegoLogic guidelines the story will follow naturally, because we are always aware that the explanation leads to the right impulse.

People change their mind often enough, they do not need your help. You can predict and manipulate what the others will say simply by using NegoLogic techniques.

Every person that is "thinking about the deal" and considering all pluses and minuses, is really looking to explain the decision. Only with the explanation, the decision follows, although we will always insist that it was the other way around.

And does it make sense… how do we look when we decline… or agree?


Story2Tell: You have skilfully dodged a bullet.

Once I met an eager seller and found myself faced with a dilemma. I honestly did not know what his product was worth, and told him so, instead of hiding a fact that he would find out anyway. I was willing to pay Y (a safe price), but he was asking for X.

I said; "I could be wrong, maybe it is worth X anyway, but I will need to do research first. Then, who knows? Maybe it is not even worth Y."

He has the information that you are lacking but his response will make clear to you what the true situation is.

You are presenting him with a reason to accept because the alternative is the strong possibility of no sale at all. He knows that better than you, so you are also handing him a reason to accept your offer by giving him a Story2Tell.

If you want to buy property and found out that they need to sell before a certain date… the only right way to use this information is:

"Here is my final offer. If we cannot close now, I will go on vacation for… X period, and maybe we can talk again after my return."

You are telling them that you are willing to take the risk of losing the property. They think that they are the only ones knowing that if they allow you to walk away, they have lost you as a buyer.

This is a very precise strategy.

Don't shoot a cannon into the fog.

Always know exactly what you are aiming for. Because now you know that nothing is so unimportant that is has no effect, positive or negative.

Reaching the final pages, we have reflected the current status of NegoLogic. Think of it as a picture of a moving object.

We must recognise there is a limit to what anyone can learn from reading books. Practice, with the right advice and guidance is the only basis for fundamental changes. This book delivers the awareness that there is more than meets the eye, so you have now reached step one of the NegoLogic program:


Awareness: We only believe what we can see. The cat peeks through the fence into the garden and is sure that this piece of land is the whole planet. The giraffe laughs at this notion, because he sees much further. We make fun of both.

A painter paints, a driver drives, so what does a negotiator do? He speaks. Which one of us cannot speak? We are great negotiators by nature. We don't need to study, right?

Development: Professionals, after reading NegoLogic, were most generous with their praise, but when I asked this all important question, the answer surprised me. "How do you rate yourself as negotiator now? How much have you grown- as negotiator- by reading my book?" Someof them were feeling worse instead of better with regards to their skills. While in fact they had improved. Because now the cats had been peeking over the fence. Behind there was a whole new world, and NegoLogic is only the beginning. We must start with a blank piece of paper and draw our own map, travelling through uncharted waters.

Great results await the ones who make it all the way

Excellence: One-trick ponies on our path are turned into horse meat. Negotiations may never be taken lightly, they just become more exiting than ever before. Our quick solutions pay out like a slot machine, reliable but only quarters. The best gains are the result of a mental check-list, because now there is such an abundance of opportunities and choices. It becomes second nature to add to the proceedings whatever is lacking. We keep on learning because no deal is like another.

Because when it comes to commercial intercourse, you don't want to find yourself on the receiving end!

That is why I teach the Negologic course for individuals and companies and consult world-wide, both online and in person.

Details can be found on

Happy negotiating!

NegoLogical short cuts:

  • Introduce yourself in order to establish your exceptional status. Confirm your respect for your opponent, his position and your wish to deal with him.

  • Do not accept your adversary's opening offer as a starting point by assuming it has some merit. Often these numbers are based on a hunch, nothing more.

  • Acknowledge the strength of the other party's position, and your own obvious weaknesses by using your B-D-C, Balance, Counter and Downsize.

  • Explain that you bring good news. The deal you offer is final, no ifs or buts. It's a solution instead of a problem.

  • The bad news is that their price is wrong. This is not a personal assumption, but the conclusion of the facts as they are in front of you, black on white. What would they do in your position? Your proposal is the result of conditions beyond your control. Impressive-looking documents explain your valuation.

  • Analyse the asking price and take time to consider your counteroffer. Speak with numbers. What are you aiming for? Do you give a firm offer or just an opening bid?

  • If possible, let them come to their own conclusions by presenting percentages to be added or subtracted. It is best if their own trusted calculator puts the numbers forward.

  • Seek someone, or something to take the blame for the bad news you just delivered.

  • Look for the hook in every deal. This makes you pull in the biggest fish. The harder it is to find the hook, the better the result.

  • Shift the tone and mood of the negotiation constantly.

  • Detach the person from the deal. Show that for you the personal relationship is important; the money comes last. The principle count.

  • Make sure the negotiation dance fits the importance of the deal. Don't measure by how important it is to you, but to them. Push your partner away sometimes, only to pull them back again. This way you show your willingness to close the deal, and also your ability to walk away.

  • Present a brick wall during the proceedings in order to touch every emotion. If they come up with their wall first, test it! Never accept a brick wall without running against it with your shoulder.

  • During the proceedings, your opponent must reconsider his position at least once.

  • Allow time for expectations to grow. Let them fall in love with the result before it has been reached.

  • After the basis of your valuation has been accepted, surrender a last minor concession, making them feel like a winner.

  • Congratulate the winner with on his performance and admire his skill.

About the author

Peter Frensdorf was born in Amsterdam in 1952. Nothing in his early life suggested he would become businessman and negotiator one day. His father divorced his mother when Peter was one year old and he was raised by an evil stepfather. Keeping to the script, the man brought his two sons along to live with Peter and his older brother and sister. Let's just say there was more Wild than Brady in that Bunch!

We will never know how Peter would have performed otherwise but the fact is that he didn't like school and the feeling was mutual. Yet he had no trouble finding work and ran a housing rental agency at the tender age of nineteen. Only then his father started to give him some attention and one day offered him a job. He was a successful businessman with top-notch education, owning a small import-export company. A most charming and intelligent man who had trouble separating business from private life. So the contract Peter had to sign was extremely firm, gave him little rights and an abundance of tasks.

Working with his father had surprised Peter because he noticed that while senior made regular profits he rarely attempted to improve a deal by negotiating. He just accepted, or refused offers.

After a few years of introducing the company to department stores Peter decided to start out for himself, at first he had very little capital and needed to fight for every cent. This way he became an autodidact negotiator, dealing on directors level for over 35 years with companies like Adidas, Asics, Reebok, Puma, Kangaroos, Converse, Kappa, Wrangler, Diadora, Esprit Time, Hema, Bilka, FDB, Metro and countless major department stores, wholesalers and importers.

It is a fair estimation Peter has personally negotiated over ten thousand deals in that period. He specialised in buying and selling branded clothing and footwear, a sensitive subject that was privileged to a handful businessmen with immaculate reputations.

He also worked as negotiation consultant, always on a free-lance basis, remaining master of his own fate.

After having lived in the Netherlands and the USA, he now resides in Denmark with his wife Pia. Peter enjoys working as negotiation consultant and teacher. His other hobbies are writing novels, tennis, poker, reading, computer games and travelling.

©2023 Peter Frensdorf
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