Listen to my April 12, 2 012 interview with Larry Nelson  of W3W3 Internet Talk Radio  about Major Mistakes Made in Negotiating:

From W3W3 Internet Talk Radio’s Website: We’re here with a dear friend, that we have done a lot of business with over the years, Dr. Robert Rutherford and we are focused on the NO-to-GO. If you have a question about negotiating, Rob is the guy to go to. He’s also a prolific author and Larry suggests you check out his books for answers. Rob tells us he is amazed at the bad rap negotiating has. Most people have an incomplete, inaccurate view of what negotiating is and what it is not. It’s not, ‘get the last slam dunk… get the last penny out of the person. It is not ‘get all you can off the table’ kind of thing. Negotiating is an effort to gain an initial agreement that otherwise couldn’t be done. There are many things that are negotiable and many things that are not. Rob said, “Personally, I think most things are negotiable and my own personal opinion is, they’re not worth negotiating. It’s not worth the time, it’s not worth the effort, no it’s just not worth it. But those things that are worth negotiating – there are special things that should be done in the effort to get the right kind of agreement. Larry asked, “What are some of the most common mistakes made when people think they’re negotiating?” Rob replied, “I think one of the most common mistakes made is, ‘I don’t have to tell the other person what I want, I’m going to hold everything in, I’m going to be secretive…. Let me ask, how in the world are we going to get a win/win, initial agreement if I don’t tell you what I want out of the deal? It just totally mystifies me. That’s a major mistake. I think another major mistake made in negotiating is seeing the other person as the enemy. Now in some cases it may be. But, what in the heck are you doing negotiating with them to begin with, if they’re the enemy? Unless you really have to. Larry asked, “Let’s say I have an appointment with an organization and I want to work out a deal. What are some things I should do in preparation?” Rob said, “Well I have a business card, I’m glad you asked. On this business card it has three different categories 1.) Preparing for Negotiation and then it goes through the steps like, Know the purpose; Understand issues thoroughly…. The 2nd part of that is the actual negotiating itself ‘in the arena’. You should seek a win-win, mutual gain for an example. Expect to win, manage expectations, not only your own but the other party… After the negotiation. It’s amazing to me, there are some people that are really good at negotiating but they’re not good at keeping the deal…Listen for more…

April 12, 2012

Have you ever been stuck while dealing with another person?

Being stuck can be likened to an iceberg- The tip of the iceberg represents the stated stuck position.  But it is what is “below” the position that makes it stuck.

We are commemorating the 100 year of the sinking of the Titanic.The Titanic was not sunk by the tip of the iceberg- It was what was lurking below the surface that destroyed the ship.

What is lurking below your and the other persons position might  sink your ability to gain agreement.

Last week I was in Santa Barbara on real estate business. Many years ago when I was a young real estate broker in Santa Barbara I was trying  to sell an investment property that the owner, a Mr. Vickers, who was desperate to sell. The building was worth in the range $475,000 but Mr. Vickers insisted that he would not sell for one penny less than $600,000- Clearly way out of line with its market value.

Strangely to me Mr. Vickers  agreed that the building was only worth $475,000 yet he would not take anything less than $600,000. When asked why he insisted on  $600,000.he remarked- “Thank you for asking Rob, because that is what I paid for the property some five years ago-and if I sold it for anything less than $600,.000 my wife and family would think me a fool and a loser to have paid so much for the property originally.”

Yes he was stuck at $600,000 due to fear of being ridiculed. In three weeks we sold the property at $600,000 – yes with some creative owner carry back financing- at no interest and a large mortgage discount at the end of five years. He was happy to sell and the new buyers were happy to buy.

When you are stuck in dealing with someone go behind the position to find out what the real issues are and see if they can be solved.

Keep flying and soaring


Do We Care?


To all you NO to GO Successful Negotiators:

November 11, 2011

These few concepts, when one truly cares enough to apply them, brings success and value to their work and lives.

When I was on the Caltech faculty my family lived in Pasadena, California, walking distance to campus. One summer day my two oldest sons, Ken and Eric, were playing football in the street outside. Watching from my home office window I could see they were about ready to come inside, no doubt to raid the refrigerator as growing teenage boys are known to do. I also noticed that my youngest son, Douglas, was sad because his older brothers, Ken and Eric had not invited him to play with them outside.

I turned to Douglas and said “Douglas, let’s hide behind the front room sofa and when Ken and Eric come in they won’t see us and then we will surprise them.” Douglas responded with wisdom far beyond his four years of age, “What if they don’t care?”

Yes- of course- What if they don’t care- and they didn’t –as they rushed past us to converge on the refrigerator and its contents inside.

Never make a concession, while negotiating, without making it conditional on getting something back in return. Work towards a mutual gain for all parties.

BOON- (Best Option Outside Negotiation)

Before entering a negotiation, be sure you have a well-thought-out BOON.

Boon is the best course of action away from the table. Do you have a bankable action? Nothing beats a good backup.

Influence and Authority

If the other party has influence but no authority to make a concession- work to give them enough “Bragging Rights” to convince the authority to give  you what you asked for.  Before they present your offer to the decision maker(s)- be sure they  will recommend to their client that they accept your offer.

Checking in to check out.

Billy, a 10 year old 5th grader- checking in to check out with Mrs. Anderson- to be sure she was satisfied with his gardening work- How many of us check in to check out how well we are doing with your customers, your spouses, loved ones? Don’t assume- check in to check out.

DO “Hollywood “ your concessions.

Never underestimate the power of packaging your concession.
Keep flying and soaring, no wobbling.


What this book is about, and why you should read it.

Why do some people apply their education, knowledge and skills to live a successful life. While others equipped with the same assets don’t, and go on to live a life that disappoints and pales by comparison. This book will teach you how to break the cycle of excuses, recognize self-sabotage, and what to do about it in order to be the success you have the power to be.

How will this book do this, and what makes it stand apart:

For centuries parables have been the most powerful way to instruct others

In order to illustrate these two types of people this book uses a parable. A parable of two turkeys blessed with the same opportunity; instruction on how to fly. While one turkey makes use of what he has learned and goes on to become a soaring success. The other turkey becomes paralyzed by doubt, fear, and one excuse after another as to why he won’t fly.

Negotiating has gotten a bad rap. Ask virtually anyone—aside from those who professionally make their living negotiating—what they think of when they hear the word “negotiating” and you will get answers like: “Adversarial,” “A battle—be careful.” “Negotiating is only for the hard nosed, tough-minded person.”

I  recall a time when I was selling my home in Pacific Palisades, California, because I had left the faculty at UCLA to join the faculty at Caltech in Pasadena.

A couple had come over to the home on three separate occasions to consider buying the property. The last time they called, I told them I had just reduced the price to $32,000, considerably under the market value (you can imagine how many years ago that was!), for a quick sale if they wanted it. If not, I would rent it out.

The husband with his wife returned to see the house again. They wanted the house. Then the husband in a somewhat condescending tone (or at least that is the way I interpreted it) said to me, “Okay—I will give you $29,000 for the house.” I remarked that he and I knew that $32,000 was  basically a steal. The house was his if he wanted it. If not, he was out of there and I would rent it.

He responded, “Okay, $29,500.” I said, “You are out of here.”

After having rented the home for several  years, I decided to sell it. It sold for just under 20 times that $32,000 that I had asked some years before. I can only imagine what the home  might bring in today’s market where just a small vacant lot, if available, in Pacific Palisade is well over a  $1,000,000. (Yes even in today’s  “disrupted ” real estate market.)

I write this not to try to impress you but to impress upon you that you don’t have to always get the “best buy” by continually trying to knock down the price and terms. If it is a good deal and you want it- take it.

Negotiating is not war; it is not about beating the other person. It

is about crafting an exchange that benefits all parties to the transaction.

Key points:

• It is as important to know when and when not to negotiate, as

it is to know how to negotiate.

• Just because you can negotiate doesn’t mean that you necessarily

should negotiate. Why? Because negotiating often takes

significant time, energy, planning, and execution. Be selective.

• Reserve negotiating for those occasions where the possible

payback in terms of money, satisfaction, and process is commensurate with the potential rewards of that negotiation.