Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

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Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

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Hate negotiating? Try this tactic

So, me, business mentor and coach in the Jerusalem area, had to enter some quick, hard core, negotiations the other day. I could see it coming up. I had prepared my tactics in advance.

When it comes to negotiating, many people just cringe back with the very thought. It touches on all their vulnerable emotions. I used to be in that category. Nowadays, I play the game very differently.

The background was ostensibly straight forward. My wife and I needed the help of a third party in order to carry out some necessary work on the household. The unofficial guidelines used to say that the fee was  – let us call it – 10%. We had done our homework, and we knew that the market allowed for as low as 2.5%.

After the general chit-chat, the moment of truth drew upon both sides, ourselves, junior salesperson (JS) and senior salesperson (SS). Nothing was going to happen, until we had signed a paper saying 10%, or otherwise.

My wife opened the bidding. Softly and encouraging, she argued that the market rates demanded a figure lower than 10%. She was politely rebuffed by SJ. She pleaded again, and again firmly but politely she was told that a lower fee would not be possible.

My wife than upped the emotional talk. She announced that she was prepared to sign, but felt she was being made a fool of. To that, SS jumped in. He assured us that we had the backing of his whole team and this was of considerable value to the project. To be blunt, this is an extended version of the gambit called “blame the higher authority”.  In other words, I do not make up the rules, and therefore YOU have to agree to them.

It was only at that stage, once both of our opponents had played their best cards, did I step in. I initially played to their ego, saying that I was sure they had heard all the excuses in the past, to which they agreed.  I let them know that I am a business consultant, and I can argue their side just as eloquently as they can. I also reminded them that they too are familiar with market conditions.

Bottom line, as I said to them, stop fobbing us off with irrelevant comments, that superficially appear so compelling.

In effect, we were hoping to save ourselves a lot of money by applying three rules:

  • Formulating an effective tactic in advance.
  • Letting them assume they are winning
  • Not blinking when you do not have to.

In the end, both parties compromised in the middle.  In other words, we won.

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