Sales negotiation training seminars will only benefit those who can handle a little risk in their lives.  The risk-averse might find the seminar informative but no true transformation will come out of it.  Why do you think that is?  I’ll get back to this question soon but first I’d like to share with you the most important risk you can take in a negotiation.

Stop wishing for more and start expecting more

Recently, I asked my niece who’s in college what grade she wishes to get in her econ101 class, without a beat of hesitation she said “A.”  I then followed up that question with “what’s your worst-case scenario in that class, what’s the lowest possible grade you think you’d get if things went awry?” She then responded with “C.”  I then proceeded with a third question, the most important question of them all.  “What grade do you EXPECT to get?” What do you think she said?  That’s right “B.” What grade do you think she ultimately wound up getting in that class?  You guessed it, a ‘B.’

Those who expect more…get more

We must aim high when we negotiate.  I’ve seen time and time again throughout the thousands of practice negotiations that I’ve conducted in my sales negotiation seminars, that those who take the risk to aim higher, do better when they negotiate…without fail

So, how do I aim high when I negotiate?

Most average negotiators go into negotiations with a single point objective, meaning the only position in their head is the one they hope to get.  Skilled negotiators, on the other hand, go into negotiations understanding their zone of flexibility. Meaning, they know the position they want to get, but they also know what their walk away position is before they even enter the negotiation.

If I’m selling my home, it would be in my best interest to have clarity around what I hope to sell for (i.e. $500K) as well as what my bottom line is (i.e. $450K). By having clarity on these two positions, you are then able to calculate your EXPECTATION INDEX (EI).  Your EI is the position you’re most likely to settle at because, like the example above with my niece, this is what you expect to get in the negotiation.

How do I calculate my EI?

Understanding your EI is a pretty easy calculation, you add your BEST-CASE scenario to your WORST-CASE scenario and then divide that answer by two.  In the example of the house above, I’d add $450K to $500K (giving me $950K) and then divide that answer by two, resulting in an EI of $475K.  Well, why is this all important?  Because those who take the risk to aim higher, do better, remember?

You want to aim high with your EI (It rhymes)

Aiming high with your EI is crucial but it’s a worthless strategy unless you’re leaving room to negotiate to achieve the EI you’ve set for yourself.

So how do I aim high and leave room to negotiate?

I’ve developed a formula that considers two metrics and then spits out a process you can use. Before we get to my process, let’s recap for a second:

  • What is your BEST-CASE scenario and your WORST-CASE scenario?  Make sure you have these defined before you ever set foot in a negotiation
  • Based on your BEST/WORST, what is your EI?  This number will be the position you will most likely achieve upon settlement.

Ok, so now I’m going to add a little twist to the recap above, and the result will be an AIM HIGH and LEAVE ROOM formula that you can use with confidence in the real world.

  1. Make your BEST-CASE scenario your EI. So, in the real estate example above, $500K would no longer be your BEST, it would now become you EI.
  2. Subtract your WORST CASE from your EI ($500K minus $450K) and then add that number back to your EI ($50K plus $500K)
  3. And there we have it; your new asking price is now $550K and your EI is $500K.  We have now successfully created a formula that’ll ensure AIMING HIGH and LEAVING ROOM

The great thing about this formula is that it will tell you if something is broken…

Meaning, if your asking price seems ridiculous (i.e. no one will even stay in the room with me if I ask $550K) that means that your WORST-CASE scenario number is ridiculous ($450K is too low of a walk away price and you should maybe raise that number to $480K). In this new scenario with the raised walk away price, your new asking price would be a more digestible $520K.


Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Negotiation is to work, discover and to take a risk Nothing is safe when we negotiate, in fact, everything I teach in my sales negotiation seminars is risky.  Every negotiation tactic and strategy has the potential to fall flat on its face. Negotiation is a risky game.  Those who can take some chances when they negotiate will be more successful in the long run.  Why?  Because, most people are risk-averse, taking chances scares them, so they play it safe.  By taking risks, you gain leverage over the masses, plain and simple.

So, before you sign up for that sales negotiation seminar you’ve been wanting to take, please make sure you understand that all the negotiation concepts and strategies you’ll be learning will require a leap of faith on your part.  Most quality sales negotiation seminars will involve practice negotiations with other attendees in the room.  Use these practice negotiations as a place to practice taking chances you normally wouldn’t take.  I bet you’ll be pretty surprised at what transpires.

What risks did you learn to take from your sales negotiation seminar?  How have they worked out for you when negotiating with procurement?


activities for negotiation skills training_Tony Perzow

Tony Perzow is a former negotiation trainer at the Karrass Organization and Vice President of negotiation training at Strategic Pricing Associates, his mission is to help others be insanely successful. His highly engaging workshops shatter the myths and misconceptions that prevent most companies and individuals from negotiating effectively.  A polished and engaging presenter, Tony has trained top executives from many of the leading Fortune 500 companies. His upcoming book, You Suck at Negotiating – But You Don’t Have to with a Mindful Negotiation Practice goes beyond the theory of negotiating by providing practical, action-oriented information. Before his career as a negotiation trainer, Tony was a top sales performer, procurement specialist, and entrepreneur. He’s been a buyer and seller of some of the world’s largest closeouts, negotiating with such companies as Walmart, Amazon, and Costco. He’s also been a successful restaurateur, real-estate developer, and award-winning film producer. Tony has trained top executives from such companies as Apple, Red Bull, Samsung, PNC bank, MGM, Starz, Boeing, Rolls Royce, Pepsi, and Waterpik.