Setting the right expectations with the other side of a negotiation is paramount to getting to a solution that works on a long term basis.
In every negotiation, in every relationship, in just about any situation that applies to life – you will have numerous opportunities to set the other parties expectations.
And the magic of setting the other parties expectations can be summed up in one simple phrase:
Simple enough, right?
It can be. For some people.
But for many people, it seems that they are all too eager to tell you what a baller they are and how much they can do for you if you just give them the chance. Â Inexperienced negotiators seem all too eager to over-promise and invariably end up in a situation where it is almost impossible for them to over-deliver.
A fun illustration of this rule:
The $35,000 Millionaire.
With the country being in a recession, the $35,000Â millionaireÂ might not be as popular as they once were – but I am quite certain they still exist.
You can find them out at clubs in Scottsdale and at first glance and possibly even in the first conversation, they convey to you in every way possible that they are printing momoneyike the US mint.
Even funner is that not only do convey they have the money that is required for full-on baller status – but also that they have the skills and street hustle to demonstrate it to you right-here-and-now.
In early conversations, $35,000 millionaires will generally:
- Mention what kind of car they drive by describing it as the ‘Benz rather than tell you it is a leased C class and they are 3 payments behind.
- Name drop that they were hanging out with <insert professional athlete> at <insert the trendiest nightclub> and how off-the-hook it was.
- Mention where they live in Scottsdale but carefully protect the exact location. At best you will get a cross street out of them – and will be left wondering if it is the NW side of the road where the mansions are or the SE side of the road where the new low income housing complex is.
- Make sure they check their Breitling at least a few times – and perhaps even ask if you know what time it is right after they flash the watch for a second-and-a-half-longer-than-would-seem-normal.
- Mention that they happened to be golfing recently at <insert exclusive private country club> and how amazing it was.
And while all of these things may be fun to watch a $35,000 millionaire do – what is really happening is he is losing whatever negotiation he gets involved in without even realizing it until it is too late.
The $35,000 millionaire is setting the expectations that he cannot possibly over-deliver on.
If you have pegged yourself as someone who is financially successful only to have the person you are talking with find out that you are 2 payments behind on your G35, what is going to happen when they find out?
It is going to end soon in a ball of flames one way or another.
The best negotiators drive old cars or pickup trucks and you may never even realize the amount of untold wealth, knowledge and financial success until their friends mention it to you long after you have first met them. Â Chances of them ever telling you until they know more about you than you know about them are slim and none.
Expectations are everything.
If you find someone explaining to you what a success they are, chances are they aren’t.
They haven’t mastered the principle of setting the right expectations.
The First Rule of Negotiations: The First One To Talk Loses
The Second Rule of Negotiations: When You Are Explaining You Are Losing
The Third Rule of Negotiations: The One With The Least Interest Controls The Relationship