We recently had super sports agent, Leigh Steinberg on CredibilityLIVE where he shared insights into how business owners can improve their negotiation tactics. As the real life inspiration for Jerry Maguire, Leigh has negotiated over $2 billion contracts for his clients, including Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, and Drew Bledsoe.

Here are our favorite lessons we learned from the interview:

  1. Internal Inventory. The best way to prepare for a negotiation is to do an internal inventory of your own value system. Whether it is for a client or yourself, know what your goals and values are and how you prioritize them. Is it short term economic gain or is it long term economic security? Is it a corner office? Is it the quality of the goods? By understanding what you want, you can make the choices that result in a win-win scenario.
  2. Learn Their Business Interests. Look into the hearts and minds of the people you are negotiating with to figure out what their business interests are and what is motivating them. Find out what creates a win situation for them and how you can fit that within your own goals. Most of the time negotiations take place between people you are familiar with. By establishing a paradigm of cooperation, you can be sensitive to each others needs. You cannot react with emotion, by understanding it is just business, you can make it about your client and the person you are negotiating with.
  3. Start with a Proposal. It is best to do an offer with a proposal. The proposal should be a rational argument which lays out why you want a result, not just that you want it. This is beneficial because it can help get a better understanding of whose reality will prevail. Do not try to split the difference while negotiating, if the deal is too skewed, come back when they are ready to truly negotiate.
  4. Know Yourself. When going into a deal you should know what your ideal deal, acceptable deal, take line, and unacceptable deal are. The ideal should be beyond your wildest dreams, the acceptable should be good, and the take line should be something you take instead of allowing the situation to go bad.
  5. Stay Strong. Don’t be intimidated by negotiations. It is something you do every day and is just a process.

For these, and many more insights, you can watch the entire interview here:

We’re really excited about our next CredLIVE event that will feature Marcus Buckingham talking about how you can use your personal talents to benefit your professional life.   It will be on April 12 at 11:00 AM PST/2:00 PM EST.


For those interested in a different perspective on the interview, check out Richard Horgan’s take at FishbowlLA: Former Super Agent Leigh Steinberg Tests Limits of CredibilityLIVE.com