Negotiating Your Bottom Line

"If you want something done right, do it yourself."

Beware of hiring someone to negotiate for you. Too often hired negotiators are little more than mediators. Their reward stems from the reaching an agreement rather than the actual terms of the agreement.

Companies who hire real estate negotiators and reward them based on performance are asking for trouble. The very people who should be protecting the operating viability of the company are rewarded for something else, making the deal. People are human and incentives are important. Attorneys pose a different challenge to their clients. Some attorneys enjoy the process, the fight. They would rather fight to the end then compromise and settle. This is good for their egos and billable hours!

Knowing your bottom line is important. The bottom line is the point that you should either be prepared to walk away or to start bluffing seriously. In most cases, you should walk away. The deal was not meant to happen. When you walk away the other party may reach out to bring you back to the table. That is when you know they want the deal more than you do and that you might be able to agree on your terms.

Do not confuse goals with bottom lines. Your goals are what you want to achieve while your bottom line is what you need to achieve.

Whether you are negotiating over money, land, or any other commodity, interest, belief or service it has a personal value to you. Before you relinquish it, you want to establish that value so you don't sacrifice it for less. Your bottom line is not your goal or objective. It is the worst case scenario that you would accept. Anything less and you would refuse.

Your bottom line has little to do with your cost in acquiring the item. It is the lowest price you would be willing to accept. This might include among other things:

• The actual acquisition cost.

• The interest on the money invested while you owned it or the "carry cost".

• The value of improvements you made to the item.

• The fdiscounted uture value you think the item may have were you to keep it.

• Any other cost you expended to acquire, hold or sell the item.

This is not your asking price. That is negotiable. This may not even be your non-negotiable bottom line. This is your frame of reference when setting your bottom-line before the negotiating gets hot and heavy. In the throes of the bid and ask you do not want to have to decide a that time what your bottom line is. It is too easy to miss something or make a mistake when calculating under duress. Do it in the quiet of the preparatory period when emotions are in check and you have ready access to files and records.