The Most Important Guideline to Remember In Negotiations and Sales Meetings

There’s one extremely important thing to remember in negotiations: your bottom line. The bottom line is the point below you simply won’t accept any offers. That’s something I always keep in mind when negotiating – always.

Some people go to meetings to accept everything in order to make a sale or close the deal. This leads to worse situations, and worse deals in the future as the old bad deals are eating space from future good deals. These guys think that “it’s better to have a poor deal than no deal at all.” That’s rubbish – it’s much better to be 100% open for good deals than fill 100% time with poor deals that eat all the space from good deals. And when the poor deal is closed, these guys are most likely are in a situation where they simply don’t have space for good deals – and the poor deals are eating them alive.

Here’s a concrete example. Some weeks ago I got a business offer where the money looked pretty high, but so was the amount of goods I would have needed to give. I took a calculator and did some math to find out that the offer I got was simply too small and I had to reject the offer. The guy told “this is the best I can give”, but I replied: “Here’s my bottom line. I’ve sold same goods to other people for much higher price, and this good price I give to you is very good for both of us. Anything less would be very bad for me, and this price is really good for you if you compare it to here and here. I want to make sure we both are happy with this.” The guy said a few more times that “the price is too high”, but I told him: “This is the best price you can get from me for this quantity – and it’s really good deal for you.”

The guy said he needed some days to think about it, and couple of days later he agreed with my price. And it was good for both of us. If I had accepted a poorer deal I would have been going below my bottom line, and that’s not acceptable. Even though the guy said that it was his best offer… somehow he managed to pay what I wanted.

Maybe it wasn’t his bottom line after all.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Nice post Juuso.
    And I agree, just because you have a deal available doesn’t mean you should take it.

  2. Good one – I guess the sideline to the ‘most important thing’ is to know what your competition is charging.

    Never be the cheapest guy, otherwise you’ll attract the clients that have no money, squeeze every penny and ride you until it meets their (somewhat unrealistic) vision. Total nightmares.

    It doesn’t matter how expensive you are if you’re the best :)

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