Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When things get tough, you need to negotiate face-to-face

There is a moment early in the movie "Local Hero" where MacIntyre, the executive who is being dispatched to Scotland to negotiate a land purchase for an oil company, complains to a colleague about the trip. "I don't need to travel there; I'm more of a Telex man." Yet he goes anyway, and finds the Scots extremely challenging (and shrewd) negotiators. The deal wouldn't have gotten done via Telex.

I was thinking of this while reflecting on the experience I had negotiating with a client was dragging their feet on signing the contract. Our general manager requested that I travel to New York and try and get the contract closed myself and I protested and said we can get it done on a conference call. He said, "Sometimes you have to go there in person." And so I did. Here's what happened...

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