What Can Be Negotiated?

As a professional negotiator, who for more than three decades has negotiated hundreds of hotel and venue contracts, as well as numerous business contracts of a variety of different types, I have often been asked what can one negotiate, and why is negotiating meaningful. While this would require a far more extensive discussion to fully explore, the simple answer is that almost everything is, in fact negotiable (particularly under the correct set of circumstances and conditions), and that quality negotiations are very often the difference between a successful or less satisfying result. While this is true regarding many different aspects of our lives and activities, it is often most readily obvious when it comes to events.

1. In my experience, I have found that a quality, professional negotiator will save an organization a significant amount of time, aggravation and wasted resources. When negotiations are done correctly, not only should an organization save far more money than what they are paying for the negotiator’s services, but they should be able to count on the professional to make a series of meaningful recommendations that should provide more value, enhance marketing efforts, and locate additional areas of significant efficiencies. My personal policy is that I guarantee my clients a savings that will exceed the fee I charge by a significant percentage.

2. Many individuals negotiate, but only a quality professional negotiator will get an optimum deal made. Great negotiations come from had work and effort, an enormous amount of homework and research, emphasis on developing relationships based on mutual respect and integrity, attention to details, needs analysis, and knowing what can be asked for, and what cannot. I equate it to someone that wants to purchase a home. If someone really wants a house, he must know what other comparable properties go for, and then, whether he wants to be in a position to perhaps receive and entertain a counter – offer. If someone is only willing to pay a particular figure with no flexibility, then little strategy is needed. But, when someone wants the house and is somewhat flexible, he must be certain that his offer balances his ability to get a great deal, with a realistic possibility of at least receiving a counter – offer. If the offer is too little, the seller may merely consider it not to be serious, or even worse, insulting. That’s why an essential duty of a professional realtor is to be a quality negotiator. If someone is unrealistic in demands when negotiating with a hotel, the long term result is generally less than optimal.

Not everyone is a great negotiator. Not even every professional negotiator is. Before hiring a negotiator, you must feel conformance and confident in his abilities and performance. Great negotiators ask questions, but spend far more time listening than talking.