During the Civil War, President Lincoln was urged by a friend to give up Forts Sumter and Pickens and all government property in the Southern states. In reply, Lincoln said, “Do you remember the fable of the lion and the woodsman’s daughter?”
“Aesop writes that a lion was very much in love with a woodsman’s daughter. The fair maid referred him to her father. And the lion went to the father and asked for her hand.
“The father replied: ‘Your teeth are too long.’”
The lion went to a dentist and had them extracted. Returning, he asked again for his bride.
“’No,” said the woodsman. “Your claws are too long.”
Going to the doctor, he had the claws removed. Then he returned to claim his bride, and the woodsman, seeing that he was unarmed, beat out his brains.
“May it not be so with me,” concluded Lincoln, “if I give up all that is asked?”
I learned a long time ago that you can’t give anything away in negotiations without receiving something in return. I also know that the most important term in any contract isn’t the contract. It’s dealing with people who are honest.
No matter what industry you’re in, or how far you go in your career, the ability to effectively negotiate can make the difference between success and mediocrity. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a multimillion-dollar contract, a job offer or a house sale. The rules of good negotiating are the same.
Financier J. P. Morgan once wanted to buy a large Minnesota ore mine from John D. Rockefeller. So Rockefeller sent his son, John D. Jr. to talk to Morgan.
Morgan asked, “Well, what’s your price?”
He was unprepared for the response. Junior said, “Mr. Morgan, I think there must be some mistake. I did not come here to sell; I understood you wanted to buy.”
Mackay’s Moral: There is no such thing as a final offer.
Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.
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