Barterers. . .
Use Win-Win Negotiations In All Your
By David Wm. Tuttle,
The words bartering, persuasion, horse-trading,
negotiations, people handling skills, charisma, are all related to
each other because they all connote getting people to do something
that they were not doing before you came on the scene!
In our modern world, everything is controlled
by someone else. And human nature the way it is, people will not act
unless they feel it is in their best interests.
Successful �people-handlers� are at the top of
every organizational ladder because they know how to get people to
act in a unified manner, giving either the buyers or the sellers
what they need so that all parties to the transaction can feel like
Since this is the case, it behooves us all to
improve our persuasion and negotiating skills if we want to improve
our lives here on earth.
A good percentage of the work we do at Tuttle &
Tuttle involves negotiating tax audits, payment plans, and offers in
compromise settlements for our clients with the Internal Revenue
Service, EDD, Board of Equalization, and other governmental
agencies. But our negotiating is not limited to working on our
We are always negotiating with our employees,
settling differences among them; we negotiate with our suppliers,
trying to get them to accept barter from us and to get the best
delivery and payment terms; we negotiate with everyone in the course
of ordinary business and pleasure pursuits whose interests are not
necessarily aligned with ours.
While this article suggests general principles
in win-win negotiations (which is a close cousin to bartering), you
as a barterer can become better at your craft, and become richer to
boot, if you attach these simple principles to all of your trades in
the future. And let�s not forget everything in life involves a
The term �negotiation� conjures up to many
people an image of high-level, peace-making between countries
involved in a dispute, where war or the end of war might be the
fruit of the negotiating endeavor.
However, I view the term as much more of an
everyday common type of activity, which includes a discussion
between at least two interested people on how to settle a
Under my usage of the term negotiating,
everyone negotiates many times, every day, to get what they need
from other people for their personal and job life.
The noted lecturer and author Zig Ziglar is
fond of saying, he knows he can get anything he wants in life, if he
helps enough other people get what they want.
This type of outlook by Mr. Ziglar demonstrates
what is referred to as the �Win-Win� style of negotiating. It is
characterized by much listening, observing, and reflecting by both
parties as to what the �other side� truly wants and needs.
No two people are the same. That is why
opposing sides do not necessarily want the same things from the
negotiation, which explains why the best negotiators know that only
when both sides come out winners is the negotiation a long-term
My father, who was a very fine attorney with
many years of experience in drafting contracts between parties
having opposing interests, once told me that all contracts would
eventually fail if they do not bring benefits to both parties.
Some of my readers at this point might ask, how
could that be the case? How can something good for my �opponent� be
good for me? The answer lies in what best selling author Robert
Ringer states... �friends come and go, but enemies accumulate!�
In other words, if you plan to live and work on
this earth for a long time, it would only be in your best interests
to think long-term. And treating all people that you come into
contact with in a long-term manner is not only the �kind and human�
thing to do, but it is the only �smart and self-serving� thing to
By avoiding a �my way or the highway, take it
or leave it approach,� by showing respect and courtesy, and true
interest in the objectives of the �other side,� you will gain a
personal and/or business relationship that can produce infinitely
larger results over your lifetime than a one-time �slam and run�
By being concerned with long-term success, you
avoid the very unpleasant, but real possibility that a person who
was unfairly taken advantage of in a negotiation is �out there
To achieve a win-win negotiation you must:
1) Avoid in most cases, people who will not
consider barter, but only want to deal in cash.
What they are saying, in effect is, �we want
your cash, but nothing else from you!� Like a labor union or
fraternity, we trade exchange members must show solidarity in
dealing with our �own kind� first, and by not rewarding �bad
behavior� in dealing with cash sellers where barter sellers are
2) Research the facts, be ready and
Preparation is one of the important keys to
successful negotiating. You must have a clear idea of what your side
must have to be a winner, and what tactics the other side will
probably use. If you can�t answer these questions with substantial
accuracy, the timing is not right for you to negotiate.
3) Show respect and courtesy to all parties
at all times.
People are like elephants, they have long
memories...and many will go out of their way to return abuse! Brian
Tracy, a noted author, advises, �a person convinced against his
will, is of the same opinion still.� This will eventually translate
into a scuttled mission or undertaking.
I am constantly amazed how owners and employees
will make a barter customer feel like a third rate customer in
relation to a cash customer. If you don�t like barter, get out of
barter. But don�t make a person look bad in front of his family when
he comes to your restaurant or other place of business.
4) Be a good listener and observer.
Find out the reason for the disagreement
between you and the other side. Remember, there are generally two
reasons given for everything in life, the good or noble-sounding
reason, and the real reason!
Put yourself in the �other side�s shoes.� Be
empathetic. Try to determine what the true objectives of the other
side are, and why they came to that conclusion.
For example, the �why� is important because
they may state they are basing values on a Kelley Blue Book, but
after looking into the matter further, they may have been using an
out of date appraisal guide. And because of this, you can probably
get them to move away from their entrenched position.
Use your eyes and ears to be aware of new
barter services that you could provide your vendors. For example, if
you are a furniture refinisher, and you notice that your attorney
loves restored antiques, make sure you suggest a trade.
Every business needs a printer, florist, carpet
cleaner, window cleaner, accountant, etc., etc. If you are not
providing services to all of your venders, you can be sure someone
else is...and reaping the benefits that you are not receiving. Make
sure that you are a good �barter plumber� in that you stop all cash
leaks where barter services are available!
value for value at all times.
Bring value to
every trade and negotiation you do. Be quick to suggest things that
your side can do for the other side that does not detract from your
position. Then ask that they make a �like-kind� concession to you,
as a �fair play� gesture. Most, but not all, people have a sense of
Negotiate and trade with the right person.
If you are not
talking with the right person (the person who has the authority to
make the decision) then you are talking to the wind!
Also, if you
have negotiated with a rigid, stubborn person in the past, then you
will want to avoid making that mistake again by seeing if there is
an another decision-maker that can help your cause, like his or her
If you were to
ask an employee if his company might accept barter as payment, the
answer will invariably be �NO.� But if you personally discuss your
proposal with the owner, outlining why it would be in his best
interests to trade, you might very well get a �YES.�
7) Do not
give away too much of your position at the beginning.
Let the other
side state their demands first. Follow their demands with a counter
offer that is in the low range of being fair.
offered amount slowly, and not in large increments, otherwise large,
offered increases in concessions will be expected in the future, and
will not bring the negotiations to a successful speedy close.
8) Know all
if you need a painter for your house and you only know one person
who can paint, and that person only takes cash for his services,
then you are not going to be in as strong a position as someone who
knows five cash painters and six barter painters. Are you prepared
to walk away, and never come back?
sure your word is your bond.
accomplish anything with people if you are not taken seriously by
them. Nothing will give you a black mark faster with your fellow
negotiators than if you renege on a commitment.
10) Be very
realistic about what you bring to the bargaining table.
Too often I
find people negotiating from weakness, when their demands are either
too high or too low.
A good example
of this is when a person who wants to sell their house, asks a
ridiculous amount for it. Then, because it never sells at that
price, they make a substantial price decrease (attempting to bring
it to fair market value) only to find potential buyers wanting to
�low ball� it further, because they detect weakness.
accountant, I have seen many businesses fail because they were only
thinking in the short-term. For example, they might be experiencing
a decent amount of cash business all of a sudden, so they
immediately �pull the plug� on their barter customers, insulting
them as they do it.
Then later in
the year when their cash cycle dries up, they wish they had not
burned their barter bridges...but it is too late.
I have found
in many cases, that when a person has been treated rudely, he or she
actually will go out of the way to try and help you fail. And for a
business to be successful it needs an infinite amount of people
wanting it to succeed; it cannot afford even one person in the
community trying to help it fail.
12) Put the
agreement in writing.
If the trade
is large enough to involve an attorney, make sure that your attorney
writes up the agreement, since he or she can craft it more to your
If an attorney
is not involved, the more details of the transactions that you
formalize on paper, the better to avoid misunderstandings.
I�ve seen on
numerous occasions a transaction that started out to be pure barter,
then as the transaction wound to a close, the provider of the
service or goods thought he would �try to get a little cash out of
the deal� by informing the buyer that he is �broke,� or the terms of
the deal were too onerous, or he wasn�t a member of the barter
exchange anymore and demanded all cash!
and by way of analogy, think of bartering and its close cousin
negotiations, as a big potluck dinner at which there are a lot of
people who could be of great help to you (provide you with wonderful
food, give you expert information, and offer you great networking
But there are
also people present who don�t think in the long- term. (They might
bring a tiny salad, but they also bring five big kids to eat! They
provide as little as they can to get by). There are others at the
potluck who crowd in line to eat up all of the dessert before anyone
else has a chance to begin the salad course.
For barter to
be good for you, it must also be good for your trading partner. It
does no good to get a great restaurant on trade this month, only to
blow them out of trade next month because they were not able to
spend their trade credits on a value for value basis.
You must put
something into the system before you can get anything out. Sure you
can attend a potluck and bring no food, and otherwise act rudely
once. By doing so, you will have earned a justifiable black mark in
the potluck and bartering community.
my twelve negotiating steps outlined in this article, thinking
long-term, and treating people the way you would like to be treated,
your barter and cash business should be highly supercharged for a
long time into the future. Best of luck to you in all of your
negotiations and bartering.
Tuttle, Ph.D., CPA is the founding partner of Tuttle & Tuttle CPAs,
located in Fresno, California. The firm specializes in tax matters,
which include representing clients (who are either being audited or
owe taxes they cannot currently pay) before the IRS, FTB, Board of
Equalization, and Employment Development Department. They also
analyze their client�s tax debts with a view toward possibly
discharging them through a chapter in the US Bankruptcy Code. To set
up your appointment with Mr. Tuttle, please call (559) 291-5527.