by James Altucher: Yoga
Has Shamed Me
Someone I don’t
know at all just wrote me with the worst selling technique of all
time. He wrote, “I really need to talk to you. Can I have 20-30
minutes of your time?”
is, “no”. Not that I think I’m so great. Or my time
is so valuable. But his message sort of suggests that my time is
worth zero. He is offering me nothing, even less of nothing since
there’s opportunity cost to 20 to 30 minutes of time. I could
be watching half an episode of Mad
Men, for instanace.
There are some
variants on this horrible technique. Like, “I have a great
idea I’ll give you equity in if you give me 20-30 minutes of
your time.” I don’t know if his equity is worth anything
yet so it’s the same problem as above.
sign of a bad salesman is a good negotiator. This might not
always be true but its true for me. I am horrible at negotiation.
If I say “this car is for sale for 10,000? and they say, “8,000?
I shrug my shoulders and say “okay”.
negotiating you have to say “no” a lot. When you are selling,
you are always trying to find the “yes”.
a “yes” buried inside of them and a good salesman knows
how to find where that “yes” is buried and then how to
tease it out. Great salesmen know it instinctively.
a negotiator you have to be willing to say “no”, regardless
of what the other side says.
they aren’t total opposites, the goals are completely different.
But big picture:
is worthless. Sales is everything.
when someone says “yes” to you, you are in the door. Eventually
then, you’ll get the girl in bed. (or guy, whatever). If you
negotiate right at the door, then you might have to walk away and
try the next house. That takes time, energy, and still might not
work out. In fact, often “bad negotiation” will result
in great sales. (I’d rather be in the bed then walking door
of my bad “negotiation” that have worked out for me.
sold my first business for much less than other Internet businesses
were going for at the same time. But it was 1998, the Internet was
about to go bust, but first all the stocks went up, and many businesses
in the same category held out for more and ended up going bust.
Even the guys who sold for a lot more, went broke when they didn’t
sell their stock.
B) I gave 50%
of Stockpickr to thestreet.com for no money. Blogs were written
about how bad my deal was. But when someone owns 50% of your business,
they care about what happens. They had to buy my company four months
later rather than risk someone else owning 50% of it. For companies
they only owned 10% , they gave up on them. I was able to sell about
four months before the market peaked. After that, it never would’ve
happened. My one employee quit on me because he was so disgusted
with the deal I did. [See, How
I Sold Stockpickr, Osama Bin Laden, and the Art of Negotiation.]
C) I sold Claudia’s
car for $1000 less than she wanted to. But now the car was gone.
We didn’t have to worry about it. That was worth $1000 to me.
D) I got my
old company to
do websites for New Line Cinema for $1000 a movie. That was
1/200 what we got for doing The
Matrix even though some of the sites were the same size.
Why did I do that? The best designers wanted to be hired by us to
work on those movies. Meanwhile, they stayed late on Saturday night
to work on Con Edison sites that paid a lot better. I didn’t
negotiate at all.
last book on Kindle for almost nothing instead of a higher price.
But this got my ideas out more and 20,000+ people have downloaded
F) I get offers
every day to advertise on my blog. I say “no” to every
one of them. Not my big picture.
The key is,
only negotiate with people you really want to sell to. Else it boils
down to money.
want to be stupid. Only sell something you love to someone you love.
Always think “what is the bigger picture here?” In many
cases in the bigger picture, the negotiation is not as important
as the “sale”. Hence, the rise of models like “freemium”.
A) Ask what’s
the lifetime value of the customer? When I give away a book
for free. It gets my name out there. That has lifelong value for
me that goes way beyond the few dollars I could maybe charge.
what are the ancillary benefits of having this customer? When
we did Miramax.com for $1000, we became the GUYS THAT DID MIRAMAX.COM!
That helped get 20 other customers that were worth a lot more. I
would’ve paid them money to do that site.
the entire history of your client. You need to love your client.
Love all of their products. Infuse yourself with knowledge of their
wanted to work at HBO because I loved all of their shows and
I studied their history back to the 70s before I applied for a job
there in the 90s.