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Whoops! Recovering from Mistakes in Negotiation

Ben Byth

Have you ever been in a position where you have taken a deal from heaven only to get back to the office and have your boss point out something you missed?


Suddenly the deal from heaven has turned into the deal from hell! I took a call from a previous participant asking for help as their recent promotion had turned into a financial problem.


Tom had done a great job of positioning himself for the promotion, taking control of the negotiation by thinking ahead about what he wanted and subsequently getting everything, he wanted after having the courage to ask for it.


But Tom’s problem became apparent when bragging to his mates that he was a master negotiator because he had gotten everything he wanted… and one of Tom’s mates pointed out that if this was true, it may indicate that Tom didn’t ask for enough?


This played on Tom’s mind, so Tom and his wife sat down and re-crunched their numbers that night and much to their horror they had missed something. Tom hadn’t factored in the cost of returning the company vehicle he wouldn’t need in his new managerial position. This new cost of purchasing another vehicle now meant that Tom wouldn’t actually be in front until well into year 2 of his new position.


What a blow to an otherwise great achievement of a promotion! Tom’s problem is now how does he re-open his negotiation without looking stupid, greedy or ruining the deal?


My advice was simple:


Be prepared

  • What was the must achieve position? If it came down to it, would Tom be prepared to walk away from the promotion if he could not achieve the money he wanted now?
  • What other creative variables could Tom bring to the table to help give flexibility on the salary and vehicle? For example: this could be things like when bonus is paid, salary next year, support/resource to perform, annual leave, study leave, etc.…


Be assertive

  • Unfortunately, if Tom is serious about fixing his deal, the only hope he has to achieve more money is to ask for it (incredibly unlikely his boss will offer more out-of-the-blue… the ink only just dried on the agreement!)


Be authentic

  • Tom’s best chance of being taken seriously and not being seen as greedy is to be honest – “I made a mistake in not factoring the vehicle costs!”. The more transparent Tom is with his math, the more credibility his request will have.


Happy negotiating!

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