Mark H. McCormack on Negotiation: “Let the Other Guy Go First”

What You Say When You Negotiate A Price
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

I’m taking yet another look at the sales-and-negotiation classic “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School” by Mark H McCormack.

In case you don’t know the name Mark H. McCormack, who died in 2003, McCormack was the founder and chairman of International Management Group, now IMG, an international management organization that handles the commercial affairs for sports figures and celebrities. He was a lawyer and sports agent for professional athletes (particularly in golf and tennis.) “The Sporting News” called him “the most powerful man in sports.”   (I conducted an exclusive interview with McCormack for one of my books “The Achievement Factors.”)

McCormack believed that negotiation is really a part of selling. Agreeing on a price and terms, in his mind, was closing the deal.

“Let the other guy go first. Very often it’s a good idea to let the other party take first crack at the terms and numbers. At the very least it tells you something he’s been thinking about. And there have been many occasions when the other party’s first offer was higher than the opening or even the closing figure I had in mind.

Sometimes you can pull out the numbers from the other party by asking a series of hypothetical questions based primarily on the other terms:
“If you were to do this and we will do that, how much could that be worth?” “Suppose we will to throw in this and add that?” “Suppose you were to put a dollar figure on it?”

Not a bad idea at all  Letting the other guy go first is more than good manners. It often is good business.

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Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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