After running one of the most notable sports agencies in the world, I've been blessed to have negotiated with some of the biggest names in sports and business. Negotiating free agency and business contracts with sports idols like Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, the Hunt family and the Rooneys, I’ve come to understand the intricacies and art of the deal. It takes relationship capital and situational knowledge to utilize leverage in a negotiation. These principles help shape how we do business at Sports 1 Marketing and will help prepare you for your next negotiation as well.
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One of the best mentors I’ve had in my career is Leigh Steinberg. That's right, the real Jerry Maguire himself. He taught me three important rules for negotiating, which I carry with me today:
1. Never negotiate to the last penny.
In order to complete a deal, shifting the paradigm of value is crucial, as well as being of service and not losing sight of what's important. Fighting over pennies means you limit your energy and have not put the ball in their court (pun intended).
2. Always be fair.
One of the core ideas of Sports 1 Marketing is there is always enough to make everybody happy. Our goal is to empower people so that they can then empower others to be happy within a deal that has a fair amount of value on both sides. Avoid back-end selling, over-selling, over-promising and under-delivering. You will thank yourself later down the road when your business relationships continue growing because you managed expectations properly.
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Overselling and back-end selling are the biggest faults that sellers tend to fall back on when trying to negotiate or make a sale. Exaggerating and misrepresenting the value you can provide leads to false expectations. An example of back-end selling would be if I sold you a new car and told you after our agreement that I need to charge you extra for rust protection, knowing that for 99 percent of the population, rust won’t develop for six years. This is something that many salespeople can get away with, but it almost always comes back to bite them in the end. However, you need to scale it back by staying connected to goodness. Overselling and back-end selling are unfair and unnecessary. If you abide by good principles and integrity, not only will you succeed in making more negotiations, but your business will continue to grow exponentially.
3. Don't do business with dicks.
This is important to remember because negotiating can be frustrating enough. If you're doing business with the wrong people, it'll be even more frustrating. Avoid the hassle entirely and don't do business with that kind of person — don’t be afraid to walk away.
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And here's one of my own tips I've learned over the years:
Know your value.
When it comes to negotiating, accurately knowing the value you bring is crucial. Not only is it important not to do business with the wrong type of people, but to make sure that you don’t become a bad negotiator yourself. Understanding the importance of honesty and goodness can mean the difference between a successful negotiation or a failed one.
Utilizing these strategies will help you meet whatever goals you have set for the upcoming year. Protecting yourself from an undesirable outcome will allow things to happen the right way at the perfect time.