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Walk Like a Star (Conclusion)

Make strides in upping your business meeting persona

PEMBROKE, Mass. — They say much is accomplished with a forceful personality. Look at our WW2-era President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who in his first year pushed through 200 significant pieces of legislation.

Which brings me to my focus on how to prepare for and comport yourself at your next business meeting. Put another way, demeanor and bearing can make a difference.


Early in the meeting, make your case. Cite your business history, your credit rating, your recent success, your community involvement, the firm’s value to area retailers. For instance, point out that, as a dry cleaner, you provide a most-needed service to all residents in the marketing area.

Be quiet. Let others speak. Answer their points with brief answers. Keep your own counsel. Stare intently at the landlord. Maintain a tightly wound posture.

That is, come off controlled, focused, and imperturbable. Concentrate on your goals. In fact, have a sheet in front of you with your goals printed out, in bullet (•) points, in order of decreasing importance.

Strategize. As the landlord talks, mentally formulate a strategy to better the offer. For example, the landlord wants $5,000 a month rent, you want to pay no more than $4,500. It might go as follows:

“As I said at the beginning of this conversation, I will not pay any more than $4,500 rent. So let’s see if we can make a deal.

“You offer a 12-year lease at $5,000 a month. How about this? I pay $4,500 per month for 4 years; then $4,900 per month for four years; then $5,300 per month for four years. Over the 12 years, you collect $706,000. This breaks down to $4,903 a month.

“So I get my $4,500 month, at least to start. You get just about $5,000 a month. And because I’m willing to do what you want, you are willing to give me a tiny break of under $100 reduction a month.”

What this offer shows is that both sides are willing to compromise. But you’re doing it through restructuring his offer, so that it works for both parties. Both get some of what they want.

Pause before making major decisions. Pausing puts a sort of mental pressure on the landlord and shows that you’re not in a hurry to wrap-up the negotiation. Often, the landlord interprets your silence as hesitation, and might be inclined to better the offer. Effective pausing unhinges negotiators.

If there is no agreement, end the discussion and ponder the negotiation overnight. The delay might get the landlord to “up” the offer. It also gives you time to think up some other combination — rental price, length of lease, terms of lease, remodeling arrangement — that can be adjusted to craft an agreement. Come back the next day with that counteroffer.

Be a tough, but not belligerent, negotiator. It’s an occasional job that affects the bottom line for years.

To read Part 1, go HERE.

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(Photo by Mike Wilson/Unsplash)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].