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This business coaching episode explains how to avoid casualties during the negotiation process.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Steps For Effective Contract Negotiations:: 7. Put That Mess In Writing
  • Notable Quotable:: “Casualness causes casualties.” - Tim Redmond
  • Lesson Nugget:: Avoid analogies and generalities. Be specific.


-We're talking about effective contract negotiations here. So the next move is to put that mess in writing. So we actually want to write down what we're offering here. What do you mean by that?

CLAY CLARK: Well, what we're talking about here is-- One, I want to dedicate this to John Elway. John, your helicopter Super Bowl dive, where you dove into the end-zone and you got hit and you spun, and you made it in-- that was amazing, and that's what we cheer for. But anyway, so we're back to put that mess in writing.

What happens is when you're negotiating, a lot of times you literally have a mess. You, literally, over here-- and you feel like you have this very, very clear-- you're feeling like-- you're going, look, I have got a very clear-- you're like, I've got a very clear understanding of what this deal is.

You know what this deal is. You're focused. You're locked in. You know what this deal is. You know all the details in your mind. In your mind's eye, in your mind's eye, you can see it clearly. You're like, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.

The problem is, is you're talking to the other party. And the other party-- these aren't idiots. But this other party, they're kind of doing this deal where they're going, uh, what are we talking about here?

They're kind of going, I don't quite understand what you're saying. And they're kind of like, well, I think we like these. I'm not sure if this deal makes sense, because I don't quite understand what it is that these guys are saying they want in this deal. So you've got to take the time.

So just this morning-- true story-- this morning at 4:00 AM, there was a professional hockey team that reached out to me, and they want me to do some work for them. And so I sent them a specific line item of the stuff that we do. We do this, we do that, we do this.

It's 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper on a 12 point font. And I bet you I had 25 specific things that we include in writing. And I sent it to them. And that clarity, that clarity, is what is going to make the deal happen.

Here's the thing is-- a close cousin-- oh boy, uh oh. Uh oh. This is a bonus for you. A close cousin of dishonesty is casualness. Because casualty-- because casualness, as our Thrive15 mentor Tim Redmond says, he says, "Casualness causes casualties." Remember, "Casualness causes casualties."

If you're just talking, and you're very loose, and it's not written down, I'm just telling you you're going to cause the other party to go, I thought you meant this. And you go, no, I thought you meant this.

And pretty soon, now we start to get into that deal where they mistrust you. And if they mistrust you, the deal blows up. You don't want that to happen, OK? So that's what I'm talking about.

-OK, so you've got to get it in writing. Now Clay, talk to me about this. You sent over-- this hockey team-- a line item list, OK, of things. Now for Thrivers that are doing a lot of negotiations on a regular basis, how is this going to help them speed up that process?

-Well, I was on the phone the other day with a guy-- he is a trainer for NBA players. He trains NBA players. And this guy-- we want to put it into writing, OK? You want to talk to someone, but you've got to put it in writing.

My main man Moses-- I know a lot of people aren't into the whole Judeo-Christian worldview thing, but work with me. It's in the Torah, so most religions embrace the first five books of the Bible-- work with me.

Moses, he was told to put it on the tablet. Put it on the tablet! Take the vision, put it on the tablet, write it down. The Ten Commandments-- that's why they're on a tablet as opposed to just, in general, thoughts. They're written down.

The point is, I'm talking to this guy, and he is talking at great length about stories, examples, analogies. And he's just sort of drifting. And it takes 45 minutes, not kidding, to get through the phone call.

And you have no idea at any point what he's talking about. Because he's saying stuff like, we're wanting to make a win-win. We're wanting to work with you guys. We're wanting to come together and create this unbelievable experience that pro athletes around the world are going to love.

And because of your marketing acumen, we want to bring you on for an equitable percentage of this deal. Now this equitable percentage could be valued at-- and I'm going, whoa, whoa, whoa. How much of a percentage are you talking about? How much of my time, specifically-- what, specifically, do you want?

And at which point it's like, well, Clay, the way I look at is it's like two guys are going into a bar, and one guy is-- and you're just getting analogy festival. And you have no idea what he's talking about.

And all I'm saying is you've got to eventually put it on the tablet. You've got to put it in writing. You've got to write it down. That has to happen. That'll help you so much through the negotiation.

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