Negotiate with Love!

In today’s Fable Friday I want to share a story with you that I read many years ago but which has always stayed with me.  It is from Andre Soltner’s book “Lutece” about the famous NY City restaurant that he founded and made successful for many years.

Soltner writes about his early days:  “When I was fifteen, I became for three years an apprentice in the kitchen of the Hotel du Parc, in Mulhouse, a city not far from our town.  Each week on my day off I would go home to visit my family.  One of those visits I remember very well.

In the hotel kitchen, I had finally learned to make an omelette.  Really, I must have made a thousand of them before I could do it right.  But when I went home on my day off and made omelettes for the family, they all said, No, my mother’s omelette was better.

They were right.  My mother’s omelette was better, because it was made with love, love for us.  In my mother’s omelette, and in all the things my mother made, there was something that was part of us.”

I’ll bet you have a similar memory from your younger days, when things were done for you out of love.

Me? I love everybody.

Now you may be wondering, “what does this have to do with negotiation, and where are the negotiation tips in this story?”

Let me share with you the first and most important negotiation tip there is.  Negotiate with your customer, not with acrimony and a desire to “beat your opponent” in the deal, but rather with kindness instead.

If you approach every negotiation with the point of view that this is your customer, someone you want to help, someone you want to be successful, someone whose needs you are trying to meet, then you will find negotiating to be very simple, and more importantly,  it will be much more pleasurable.

If your heart is in the right place and you really want to help, then rule number one is to listen carefully to all your customer’s concerns.  Ask, and then ask again, “Of all these issues before us, which is most important to you?  And why is that?”  Ask because you genuinely care and with the notion and intent that it will help you find a solution that meets both the customer’s needs and your own.

Compare your new and altruistic view of negotiating with the way you would speak with a family member or other loved one.  You genuinely want to help, so you listen, and demonstrate that you care.  Your customer will sense this, open up to you, put caution aside, and you will soon be engaged in an open and honest dialog, which is the only way for two people to come to a satisfactory agreement.

So next time you are planning to go into a negotiation discussion, say to yourself, “I am going to do whatever I can to help this guy, so I need to know everything on his mind,” and believe in it.  It works not because it’s a business tactic, but because it is the right thing to do.  Remember, if you want to help your customer, you have to

Think Like Your Customer!

 Next week I’ll give you some additional negotiation tips, starting with a simple card game.  Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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