A quick story take from our friend Steve Jolly’s newsletters. Steve is a real estate agent in Nashville. Tim is subscribed to his newsletter and thought this was too good not to share.
Thomas Edison, one of the world’s greatest inventors, was also a master of negotiation.
With the help of one of his partners, Edison setup a meeting with a local banker to discuss purchasing his latest invention, the ticker tape machine. It would provide stock quotes to Main Street America directly from the floors of the New York Stock Exchange.
Edison’s presentation was pure genius.
He decided to set up the ticker tape machine and just let it run without saying a word. He stepped back and let the banker read the tape. He let the machine do all the talking.
Instantly, the banker saw the value in this new invention and offered him $5,000. Hearing the offer, Edison sat with a terse look on his face and said nothing.
“$10,000,” the banker barked. Yet, Edison sat there looking slightly confused across the other side of the table.
“Ok! Ok! $25,000,” the banker exclaimed. And Edison still did not bat an eye.
Assuming that Edison was a tough negotiator, the banker gave one more offer. “$100,000 and not a penny more,” he said.
Edison looked at his partner with a frown, and he nodded in agreement. The banker laughed and said with a boastful smile, “I would have paid you $150,000.”
Edison finally replied and said, “I would have taken $10,000.”
While Edison sat silently and controlled his emotions, the banker did the opposite. His compulsive talking signaled the banker's neediness and didn’t leave time for him to do something that is equally important.
Listening to the other side.
People talk endlessly during a negotiation for a lot of reasons. Some are nervous. Others are showing their need. And the last group just wants to show you how important they are.
That’s your clue to listen very carefully because people show their cards. In other words, they share information that is valuable to you (and your wallet) in the negotiating process.
So…listen well, take notes and have fun.
If you want to learn to be a better negotiator, then let's talk. I am here to help you. Otherwise…