3 Negotiation Tips From The Master: Donald Trump

by drjim on October 7, 2008

Donald Trump Has 3 Negotiating Tips For You

Donald Trump Has 3 Negotiating Tips For You

I believe that by now we all probably have somewhat of a love / hate relationship with Donald Trump (“The Donald” if you like). No matter how you feel about the guy, you have to give him credit – he’s done quite well for himself. What’s interesting is that as caught up in himself as he often seems to be, he is more than willing to give credit where credit is due when it comes to negotiating. When you are talking about negotiating with Donald Trump, then you are really talking about negotiating with his right-hand man: George Ross.

George has become famous in the last few years because he has appeared on Tump’s TV show “The Apprentice” as Trump’s advisor. However, George is really an experienced real estate lawyer who has worked with Trump since the 1970’s. He has been involved in hundreds of negotiations and is considered an expert in the field. In his book, Trump Style Negotiation, George lays out what Donald Trump believes that negotiation is NOT. Here they are:

  1. Once And For All, Negotiation Is NOT A Science: George very clearly makes the point that negotiation is really just another form of communication between people. What everyone wants from a negotiation is a feeling of personal satisfaction when the final outcome is reached. This is critical because in negotiations we almost never end up with something that is tangible – that you can touch. Instead, it’s the feeling that we walk away from the table with that determines how we judge the outcome.
  2. Just Forget About Winning – It’s Not Everything: If you see the world in terms of winners and losers then you are going to have trouble negotiating. The reason for this is that in negotiating, NOBODY wins or loses. Rather both sides give a little and gain a little in order to reach an agreement. This is why establishing trust with the other side of the table and building a friendly relationship are critical components of any good negotiating session.
  3. Negotiating Does Not Flow From Start To Finish: Instead, it has a habit of starting, stopping, and then starting again. If you sit down at the negotiating table with the hope that you’ll be able to knock out a final agreement in this one session, then more often than not you are going to be disappointed. One of the things that makes negotiating so hard to do well is the simple fact that since it stretches out over time, things change. Something that the other side said yesterday may no longer be true today. Hey, if negotiating was easy to do, then anyone could do it!

Understanding what negotiating is NOT is half the battle. We’ll check back in with George later on down the line and see if he has any more tips for us to use in our own “Trump-style” negotiations…

Have you ever finished up a negotiation and been left feeling not satisfied? Did you ever figure out why you felt that way? Do you feel bad if you don’t “win” a negotiation? How long has the longest negotiation that you’ve ever been involved in lasted? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dallas May 21, 2012 at 12:24 am

Thank you for disproving a common myth that negotiating is some sort of hidden or lost art form. It’s just communication and both sides need to feel good. Keep that in mind and you will do fine. Good post.

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