The One Minute Negotiator: Simple Steps to Reach Better Agreements

The One Minute Negotiator: Simple Steps to Reach Better Agreements


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Negotiation impacts every aspect of our lives, from the deals we strike on the job, to our relationships with family members and neighbors, to the transactions we make as customers. Yet most people do anything they can to avoid negotiating—it makes them uncomfortable, nervous, even frightened. This plague of negotiaphobia is what Don Hutson and George Lucas are here to remedy.
Hutson and Lucas tell the tale of Jay Baxter, who sells more than anyone else in his company but finds himself in trouble because his profit margins are so slim—he’s giving too much away to close the deal. Enter the One Minute Negotiator, who teaches him a three-step negotiating process that not only helps him make more profit per sale but can be applied anywhere, on the job or off.
The key to the process is flexibility. Most books on negotiation preach one of two gospels: thou shalt collaborate or thou shalt compete. But no two negotiations are alike—one strategy cannot fit all. The One Minute Negotiator teaches you four viable strategies and shows how to choose the one best suited to the situation, your own inclinations, and the strategy being used by the other side.
Besides the obvious benefits, conquering negotiaphobia will reduce your stress level. You’ll never walk away thinking about what you should have asked for or might have gotten. Instead, with the tools Hutson and Lucas provide, you can confidently and consistently guide any negotiation to the best possible conclusion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605095868
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication date: 08/30/2010
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Don Hutson is chairman and CEO of U.S. Learning, chairman of the board of Executive Books, and an accomplished corporate speaker and trainer. He is the author of twelve books, including The One Minute Entrepreneur (with Ken Blanchard) and The Sale.
George H. Lucas is a senior consultant and member of the board of directors for U.S. Learning. He has conducted negotiation seminars on six continents and is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Contented Achiever and Marketing Strategy.

Read an Excerpt

I Have Negotiaphobia?!

Two Tickets for Paradise

The sign in Terminal H of Miami International Airport proclaimed, “Welcome to Miami.” As Jay Baxter read this message and then looked for the arrow directing him to baggage claim, he doubted that he had ever felt more welcome anytime and anyplace in his life. He and his wife, Laura, had won a spot on the Top Producers Award Trip his company held annually for all salespeople who exceeded their sales quota by more than 10 percent during the prior year.

That company, XL Information Solutions, had considered canceling the trip this year in an effort to reduce costs. The organization’s president stepped in at the last minute and saved the event with the idea of making it not only a reward but also a relevant educational experience. The president’s memo mentioned getting a return on the investment, but everyone knew changes in tax laws restricting a company’s ability to write off such excursions played a major role in the repositioning. Jay was glad the possibility of a cancellation had never leaked to his wife, Laura. She had been counting on this trip for six months, and it was the one legitimate explanation he could give her for all those late dinners and missed family events he had delivered to those he loved so much over the past year.

When they left Cleveland, it had been snowing and a chilling 21 degrees. Upon landing, the pilot told them it was 78 in Miami, and the passengers did not need to be told they were finally in “The Sunshine State.” This was to be a glorious trip for the two of them. Laura’s parents had come in from Chicago to watch their two teenagers, so they were on the verge of a trip without a care.

Not only had Jay qualified for this event, but his revenue total was the highest percentage over quota of all seventeen people who had earned the cruise. Many of his colleagues had e-mailed him indicating they felt he had a lock on the coveted “Salesperson of the Year” award. He already had a place of honor picked out to display the golden statue award, as well as the talking points for his acceptance speech.

Laura had heard the award was a possibility from several of the spouses, and on the flight down she mentioned using the additional bonus money as a down payment on a new home. He had put her off on this major change for some time, but as their negotiations continued, he was beginning to run out of excuses. One additional possibility Laura had not heard about—and Jay did nothing to get her hopes up on the issue—was that Jay would also be getting a promotion to the now-vacant regional sales manager position for the Upper Midwest. This accomplishment would not only make a higher monthly mortgage payment feasible but would also fulfill his career-long dream. He had coveted this position for years, and since the present manager announced his retirement several weeks ago, he had even found opportunities to sneak into this office space to have a look around.

“Laura, do you think I have a fear of negotiating?” Jay asked his wife as they walked through the terminal. She responded with her own question: “Why do you ask, dear?” He justified his question by informing her of the focus of the workshop that would be consuming much of his time on this trip. “This Dr. Pat guy’s seminar program is called ‘Treating Your Negotiaphobia.’ In the description, he claims that even the most senior business professionals suffer from a disease that has its roots in the fear of negotiating, both in the workplace and in our personal life: negotiaphobia. I don’t have that fear, do I?” Laura couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a free shot or two at teasing her husband. “Well, Jay, you have plumbingphobia, as the faucet in the upstairs bathroom still drips. You have gardeningphobia given the weeds that are still in the flower beds from last summer. Given those fears, you may have negotiaphobia as well.” Jay smirked and said, “Thanks, lover. Glad to always have your unconditional support.”

When they reached baggage claim, their luggage was three of the first ten bags on the belt. Jay disliked checking luggage, but this time it worked like a charm. Ten minutes later, they were in the shuttle headed down I-95 to the Port of Miami. Departing the van at the pier, he tipped the shuttle driver, who when questioned repeatedly assured both of them that these bags would be in their stateroom in plenty of time to dress for dinner. “We have a simple process in place that works thousands of times each day,” the driver confidently stated. They would just need to check in, set up credit for their incidental expenses, provide their passports, get on board, and start having fun.

The moment they stepped onto that massive ship they were engulfed in an atmosphere of festivity. Signing the $22 check for their welcome beverages, Jay instantly realized it would not take long to spend the $400 ship credit his company provided each couple on this three-night/four-day cruise to the Bahamas and then down to Key West. “Oh, well,” he said to Laura, “this is not a time to worry about money; this is a time to celebrate, have fun, live graciously, and look toward what will most certainly be the future we have both worked so hard to achieve.”

Ruinous Rumors

After the mandatory lifeboat drill, which was half serious (the crew) and half a joke and party time (the passengers), Jay and Laura went back to their cabin. It was cozy, but at least it had a small balcony to step out on and raise a toast to the poor souls who were not fortunate enough to be sailing off to sun and fun. Laura told Jay to shower first and then get out of there so she could get ready in peace and quiet. He dutifully obeyed.

Eduardo Carlos, XL’s sales rep for the south Florida territory, had told Jay at the drill he wanted to talk with him. A dozen years ago, Jay and Eduardo had experienced the company’s new employee orientation program together. They often bounced ideas off one another and considered themselves the two best players in the company at deciphering any new policy or finding the easy money in the annual changes in the compensation plan.

Jay put on his new pink and green flamingo and palm tree shirt he had brought along to a mixture of complaints and laughter from Laura, gave her a quick kiss, and headed off to find his friend.

Jay met Eduardo at the elevator midship on the Lido deck. They found a fairly quiet table to sit down at for their chat. “Jay, you are really doing one heck of a job keeping on a happy face given what’s happening,” Eduardo said.

“What are you talking about?” Jay asked. “We just wrapped up a fine year in a tough market, we are on a fantastic cruise ship, and I don’t want to assume too much, but my Salesperson of the Year acceptance speech has a couple of really good one-liners in it. All better than that lead sled dog stuff Robert made us suffer through last year. Want to hear ’em?”

Eduardo looked shocked. “You really don’t know, do you?”

“Know what?” was all Jay could say. He was wondering if someone had been fired or, worse yet, someone in the company might be seriously ill.

“I really hope you get a chance to use that speech next year. The rumor mill has Cathy Simmons getting the big prize at the awards banquet tonight,” Eduardo cautiously told his friend.

“Cathy Simmons?” Jay said her name like he was talking about a plague. He was a good 8 percent ahead of her the last time he looked at XL’s sales results. “This simply can’t be true. I never even considered her serious competition.” His voice trailed off as he spoke.

Eduardo went on, “There is no doubt that this is felony theft, my friend. You had one heck of a year. Word is that it was a real bloodbath at the executive committee meeting. Everyone thought you had it locked up, and then Bob Blankenship came in and turned everything upside down. I guess you can do that when you’re the president of the company.” The criteria for Salesperson of the Year award had always been a little vague, but tradition had it that the individual with the highest percentage above sales quota got the golden statue. Eduardo continued, “Blankenship comes in and says that given the pressure on profitability, gross margin had to be the primary criterion this year. After two more hours of aggressive politicking from all sides, Cathy came out on top.”

Jay thought back to the year-end spreadsheet he had studied a few weeks ago and seemed to recall her being about 5 percent ahead of him in the contribution to company profit column. He did not think much about this at the time. He always thought Monte Beal, the New York rep, was his only serious competition. “Eduardo, how certain are you about this?”

“Man, do you think I’d be telling you this if it was not a done deal?” Eduardo seemed to have his sources pretty much everywhere, and the historical accuracy of his information only added to Jay’s growing feeling of both panic and anger. “Jay, I hate to be the delivery man for bad news, but while we are putting it all on the table, you might as well know she likely will also be announced as the new regional sales manager for the Midwest. Apparently she went to some negotiation skills workshop about a year ago. An ex-college prof, a Dr. Pat Something, ran it. Get this: he is on this cruise and for the next couple of days will be conducting his workshop on board for all of us unfortunate souls. Can you believe it? My Luciana and your Laura get to hit the shore excursions with the spouse program, and we end up being cooped up in some dark meeting room with this egghead.” Jay, still in shock, could only grimace and nod in agreement.

Jay slowly replied, “Can you believe this guy has actually come up with some disease we all apparently have? Something called—get this—negotiaphobia. Cathy Simmons really has Blankenship in her corner, doesn’t she?”

Eduardo was clearly in agreement. “Hey, Jay, I hate hitting you with this all at once. I really assumed you knew. My friend, don’t lose sight of the year you had. It was top-shelf, and things are going to work out for you. We are both survivors. Were that not the case, neither of us would have lasted a dozen years in this crazy business. You going to be okay?”

Jay assured him that he was fine, or at least he would be. With that, Eduardo said he had to check on one of Luciana’s missing bags and then head back to their cabin to pick her up. “We’ll look for you and Laura at the dinner. Maybe we can grab a table if they don’t have assigned seating.” With that, he was gone, and so was Jay’s upbeat mood—every last ounce of it.

The Chance Encounter

Jay gave a glance at his watch and saw that he had fifteen more minutes before heading back for Laura. He went into the Beach Shack Lounge and ordered a beverage. As it arrived, he noticed someone sliding onto the bar stool next to him, but he clearly was in no mood to chat.

“Where ya from?” he heard the guy ask.


“Darn nice city. I enjoy going there, though not necessarily during the winter.”

Okay, Jay thought. That comment was positive enough to deserve the same question back. “What about you?”

“Well, I am sort of from everywhere these days, but I still consider San Angelo, Texas, home,” the stranger said with the strong accent natives of that state are known for.

Jay looked down at the guy’s shoes and his expectations were fulfilled. “Well, the cowboy boots are a dead giveaway. I should have known.”

“I’ve got to ask you. Here we are on this cruise, and you look like your prize bull just died. What’s got you down? Are you with that XL group running all over the boat?”

“Yeah, I am. Been with them about a dozen years,” Jay said with absolutely zero emotion.

The stranger said, “Isn’t this supposed to be a reward trip? You should be in a celebratory mood, man.”

Jay told the Texan that he should have seen him an hour ago. “I was on cloud nine. I had my best sales year ever, with total confidence that it will be more of the same this year. Nearly all of my customers stayed with us, and I also managed to add enough new ones to have the highest percentage revenue above quota of anyone in the company. I won this trip for my wife and me, and thought I was a cinch for salesperson of the year.” Jay was not certain why he was confiding in this stranger, but he went on. “I was in line for a big promotion as well. Now I hear from my best friend in the company that all of that was stolen from me by the woman who is our rep in St. Louis.” The stranger nodded and admitted that this was a tough tale indeed.

“I’ve got to tell ya,” the Texan shared with a note of concern. “I’ve really seen the game change out there for all my clients. It’s shifted from all business is good business, to a real focus on profitability; we’re in a totally new paradigm.”

Jay’s ears perked up and he chimed right in, “That paradigm thing is apparently what got me. She beat me out on profit contribution. Imagine that? We have always done whatever it took to keep business. You know; all that ‘the customer is always right’ stuff?”

Jay’s newfound friend continued, “That mind-set is a lot like the Alamo, man; it is history, and most people think it went a lot better than it really did.”

“To add insult to injury, it seems this person who is getting my award and my promotion has talked our president into locking us up with some negotiations expert for most of the next two days. Can you believe that? This clown is supposed to treat my ‘negotiaphobia.’ The guy is a doctor, so I guess he has come up with his own disease to treat. He has probably never sold one dime’s worth of information management systems in his life, and he is going to tell us how to do it. Unbelievable! I end up in paradise, but I have to come home and explain to my friends and neighbors why I did not get one shade of tan.”

With that, Jay took a quick glance at his watch and realized Laura would be tapping her toe as she waited for him in the hallway. She was always prompt, and he always got tied up in situations just like this one. Like his father, he never really encountered a stranger, only new friends. “Look, thanks for listening to me go on and on about my sudden disappointments. I am usually a better conversationalist than this. I am Jay Baxter. What is your name, my new friend from San Angelo?”

Both now standing, he told Jay, “My name is Pat, Patrick Perkins. Some of my students call me Dr. Pat; others have labeled me the One Minute Negotiator. They call me that because many of the ideas I give them only take a minute to do and really reduce their stress level after treating their ‘negotiaphobia.’ As I recall, you think I am a, what was it … a clown? I’ll see you first thing in the morning, Jay Baxter. By the way, Jay, you are never in the game too long to learn new skills. There are really no old dogs as long as they keep learning the new tricks.”


1. Negotiaphobia is a widespread and frequently unrecognized affliction that negatively impacts people in their personal and professional lives.

2. Today’s business world is more challenging than ever before, but with good negotiation skills, positive results can be achieved.

3. Increasingly, business development professionals are being held accountable not only for revenue but for bottom-line profitability as well.

4. Until they chisel the second date on one’s tomb-stone, it is never too late to learn, as we treat our negotiaphobia.

Table of Contents

Foreword Ken Blanchard ix

Chapter 1 I Have Negotiaphobia?! 1

Chapter 2 Moonlight Reflections and Midcourse Corrections 15

Chapter 3 The EASY Process for Treating Negotiaphobia 25

Chapter 4 Engaging the Treatment Process 41

Chapter 5 Assessing Your Tendencies 57

Chapter 6 Assessing the Tendencies of Others 77

Chapter 7 Strategizing: One Size Does Not Fit All 93

Chapter 8 Your One Minute Drill in Practice 109

Epilogue One Year Later 125

The One Minute Negotiator Handy Glossary 129

Acknowledgments 135

About the Authors 137


Don is a life-long resident of Memphis, Tennessee. George lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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