The two kinds of negotiators

Tell me if you have encountered one of these:

When I was working with a hard hitting real estate company I met my opposite, a win/lose negotiator. Abrupt, a bit rude and insanely high maintenance, her name was Wilma and she was simply monstrous to deal with. Opposing brokers always felt like she pushed the other side too hard, earning her the nickname of “Warhammer.” She would push and push and push until finally the other side would say, “uncle!” Want to be on the other side of her? I don’t think so.

To be honest, I used to judge her, until I realized that she was a master of a different style of negotiating.

Here is what I mean: I tend to be a win/win negotiator. I want both sides to win, and I want us to come to a fair price. When I realized that Wilma was that the win/lose negotiation in terms of style and not character, that made dealing with her a lot easy. She would push until someone said, “no.” She had to feel like she won something in a negotiation, otherwise she would keep asking for things, things that she didn’t even use or need!

What I found was that saying “no” to Wilma early and often didn’t make her search for a different marketer, it made her appreciate the one she had. See, with her type, she constantly needed to feel like she was winning, so I usually told her what she wanted was impossible. That got her attention. She realized, “oh wait, I have found my boundary,” and we almost always found a point of mutual agreement.

Compare that to another broker, Dan, who always had an extremely affable position. When he needed a big project quickly, I would just ask questions and work with openness and ease, and say what was was possible with a lot more flexibility than with Wilma.

The big lesson between these two styles? Match your partner’s style. If you encounter a win/win negotiator, be easy to deal with and show you are on both of your sides. If you encounter a win/lose negotiator, don’t give up any ground and push back on them hard until you see that they are willing to bend.

It’s simple, but it also frees us from a lot of unnecessary judgement of other negotiation styles.

You Can’t Do Love and Fear at the Same Time

I have been taking a course in copywriting and email marketing by a guy who I wont, name. I’ll call him Steve. What surprised me was that it was promoted by people I have typically quite respected, especially powerful traditional marketers selling inspiring, high quality material, etc.

Steve’s course is about how to make more money and how to get your audience to purchase your product. If they don’t purchase or unsubscribe from the email list, then they didn’t belong on the list in the first place.  He takes 7 emails in 5 days and does his best to show you how to convince your audience to transact with you. I have seen you all essentially this very tip in some of your promotional materials.
 Now some of his tips are pretty good for thinking about the psychology of the prospect, but primarily they play on the fears of the prospect. He warns us, don’t use these tools for ill, because they are very powerful and potentially manipulative. It’s okay to use this material, however, because everyone else is essentially doing it.
Here is my issue: You cannot do love and fear at the same time.
Taking this course I can feel nothing but skeeze running down my back. I feel genuinely dirty. I’m not sure whether Steve means well or not, but I can guarantee one thing, he genuinely means to turn me into a transaction, as opposed to a friend, even if the material he has already provided has been free.
I want to propose an analogy. A long while ago a friend recommended to me a potentially dangerous and a terrifying book, Niel Strauss’ “The Rules of the Game.” This game was essentially all about how to get a woman’s attention or how to psychologically manipulate others to find you more attractive and ultimately “transact” with you. I read part of the book but ultimately couldn’t stomach it. It was  too much based on how to use the tools of psychology to convince someone to do something you want. This is, however, very much antithetical to an approach of genuine relationship. It is not about love, it is about utility.
In a world where there is so much attention grabbing, he is trading long term profits for short-term results. I get that he is trying to spark people’s interest and attention, and some of the tips are sound psychological principals. But instead of removing fear, he adds to it, instead of providing inspiration he provides a shortcut. His method is exactly the opposite from what Zig Ziglar might propose; even if they use some of the same tools, Zig had an entirely different spirit that animated his work. Seth Godin is much more aligned to that than Steve.
I’m all for using marketing best practices, but if it is not put at the service of others, then I want nothing to do with it, and even though I know he has generated some clear profits for you, perhaps there is a much better way to go about genuinely building up your business and audience.


Update: I corresponded with the individuals who promoted “Steve’s” Material, and they vouched for his character. With that, I  realize it’s better to leave names out if being critical. Praise in Public, criticism in private.