Posted on: December 6, 2011

How to Win in Business Negotiations: Never Forget, it’s All About the Money!

A lot of people have asked me for help on how to negotiate more effectively. Whether you’re applying for a job, pitching to investors, or buying or selling anything, you need to know what you’re doing. Thank goodness I’m here!

Know What You Want
Anything can happen in a negotiation, so you need to understand exactly what you need, what you can accept and why. Be reasonable in what you ask for and map out a few scenarios of where the conversation can lead. Think about the interests driving the person or people you’re negotiating with (hint: it’s all about the money, all the time). Anticipate their questions and do your best to foresee the unforeseeable. When you can listen, respond and react in a way that makes sense for everyone at the table, you’re in a good place. But if you aren’t sure of what you want, or you can’t explain why, you’ll be crushed like an insect.

You Will Be Judged Immediately
Negotiations may take time, but the most important moments are always at the beginning. Everything matters here, from your body language to the way you dress to the way you start out the discussion. Establish your credibility by showing the other party that you’re not a bad use of their time. Be confident, clear and get to the point. Whatever you do, don’t leave people guessing about what you came to accomplish, especially at a first meeting. I need to know what YOU want within the first minute; otherwise, I’m on to the next thing. My time is my most precious resource (time is money, after all), so I go to great lengths to protect it. Waste my time and I’ll send you an invoice.

Help Others Help You
No matter what they tell you, any business person worth their salt won’t give you what you want because they like you — they’ll give it to you because it’s in their interest. So why complicate things? Don’t spend any time talking about why they should do you a favour, what you’ve done to deserve their favour, or how your plan would make your own life better. Instead, show them how the deal you’re proposing — whether it’s an investment, a sale, or a chance to hire you — will help them make money.

Know Your Facts
Know everything about the companies and people you are going to be negotiating with. Insist on getting the names of everyone participating in the negotiations. Leave no stone unturned; find out as much as you can. From Google searches to business intelligence reports, there are plenty of easily-accessed resources. And don’t forget to pick up the phone — a few short calls can pay enormous dividends. There’s no excuse for ignorance, or for a missed opportunity to show the other party that you’re thorough and that you respect their time. Imagine how foolish you’d look if, like one clever salesman who once pitched to me, you tried to license your product to a big industry player without knowing they just launched a competing product. With the right background research, he could have avoided that and other landmines — and so can you.

Know When to Walk Away
I see negotiations as an honest attempt to reach a deal that’s great for everyone at the table. But sometimes, for whatever reason, that’s impossible. You need to accept that possibility — don’t make a deal for the sake of making a deal. If you do, chances are it will fall apart later anyway, with costs and headaches for everyone involved. And once you walk away, don’t come back.

Business Is Not About Making Friends, It’s About Making Money
Once in a while, I see my fellow TV investors praise a business just because they like the entrepreneur behind it. That kind of thinking might make you feel warm and fuzzy inside — but let’s get back to reality. I don’t do business with people I want to have a glass of wine with — I do business with people who can make me money. And so should you. There’s nothing more important than money, so don’t let your emotions take money from you. All business deals are about one thing: money. Everything else is just background noise.

Don’t Let The Dark Clouds Of Greed Confuse You
Once you’ve got a good deal, it can be tempting to try your luck and squeeze more out of your new partner. Be careful. Unless you know for sure that you have a lot more leverage than the other party, you might risk killing a golden goose.

Concluding Thoughts
Get as much negotiating experience as possible. So much of life is a negotiation — so even if you’re not in business, you have opportunities to practice all around you. If you make it easy for people to make deals with you, you’ll find that your opportunities will start to grow quickly.

  • Lastnite24

    Very informative Kevin because at the end of the day its all about money in business.People love you then hate you but money doesn’t have feelings.

  • Sergio Ricardo Santos

    You have made very clear what is about.all about money.i love watch you on Shark thank & others TV in Japan now i look for a opportunity to see you live one day.gonna get your the book right now.

  • Anonymous

     Great article!  Your next book should be solely based on the topic of negotiating. I would buy it. I like the way you balance the people aspect with the money aspect.

  • Sesquiltera

    Dear mr. Wonderful,

    This is a great article. I am surprised that you say: “once you walk away, don’t come back”. How would you view this in relation to the Wine in a Cup company guy on Sharktank?

    Kind regards,

    Dave Albrecht

  • Vadim

    Thank you very much for advice Kevin!

  • Nathaniel Montgomery

    Kevin, you are a “GREAT” teacher of business and finance, I really enjoy hearing your point of view. Like you said, you’re not in it to make friends, you’re in it to make money, an that’s the absolute truth. I’m an entrepreneur and inventor, and I have two great products, I even sent one of them to Lori, but got turned down. But that did not stop me. I’m currently preparing product to sell to 20 Ace Hardware stores, and 25 more lined up there after. I know that there’s 4,400 Ace Hardware stores in the nation and counting. So with this going, I’m going to need some working capital. If you would like to do a little side-line investing (Outside of the Tank) I would be happy to discuss this with you. And last but not least. I won a part in an entrepreneur challenge here in the San Joaquin county, check out the article. I have plans on where I’m going and what to do to go even farther.


  • Nathaniel Montgomery

    The Multi-Use Bag Tie has a huge market, people of all ages have purchased some. I have them selling in two California Ace Hardwares, Schemper’s Ace in Ripon, CA., and Oakdale Ace, in Oakdale, CA., and Pan Pacific RV Center in Stockton, CA. So right now would be a great time to invest.

  • Nathaniel Montgomery

    Patent Pending…

  • Nathaniel Montgomery

    We produce them in many different colors. So many places they can be used. I almost forgot, I just received an interest to sell them in Tap Plastics, the other day. And I found out that Tap Plastics, Inc., has 21 locations. I sell them 24 to a case.

  • Freddy Benson

    Kevin, you miss many opportunities with your policy about new inventions. I have something which solves a problem in the live entertainment audience industry, it’s combined with high fashion accessory, and there is zero competition. I have consulted the opinions of live venues from Broadway and The Met, to The Kodak Theater, and it is going to be the next big thing. I have no interest in making it and marketing it. I am looking for a licensing deal. I don’t get your logic in demanding that an inventor have a working business, when it takes 30 seconds for your people to screen and evaluate viable pre-revenue products like mine which you could negotiate for me with your licensing connections.

  • This is great, so many people try and bargain and squeeze every last drop and end up blowing the deal.