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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Medina

Win-Wins in the Negotiation world are a lie

Why you need to understand your worth during negotiations and marketing to investors

I’m Maddie and I work as a Marketing Manager at Creative Return. I’m a young millennial navigating this world of finance and investment marketing. I hope my blogs can help others who are just getting started in their journey through the world of investor relations and digital investment marketing.

Before I listened to this podcast episode, I really had no knowledge of negotiations. I’d heard the word multiple times before but did not understand what it truly meant.

I had a great time listening to this episode and taking in all the information!

Mark Raffan is a professional negotiator, coach, and host of the Negotiations Ninja podcast that consistently gets thousands of downloads each episode from all around the world. In 2019, it was voted the #1 negotiation podcast on the charts.

Mark provides negotiation training to procurement and sales teams around the world.

Is there truly such a thing as a win-win in the negotiation world?

“I think win-win is the biggest lie that’s ever been told,” Mark said. “I don’t think it’s accurate and I don’t think it’s feasible.”

It ultimately boils down to how you define a win-win. The majority of people define it as both parties coming out with an equal share of the pie and are happy.

“The fact of the matter is, if you’ve been around negotiation for a while, there is no way that anyone is going to get exactly 50/50 of any negotiation.”

Though it could be mutually beneficial with one party receiving more than the other, that is still not considered a win-win.

You need to look after yourself first – if you’re negotiating something of substance, you want something that’s going to develop some sort of a long term relationship.

Are you too nice or too accommodating?

“You can be nice in a negotiation but what people do too much in a negotiation is concede too easily because they want to be accommodating,” Mark shared.

Most people are too accommodating. People will agree to finding a way to try and make things work without asking for anything in return. When nothing is asked for in return, you give away value.

Mark went on to share some advice regarding high stakes negotiations. The sort of stakes where a CEO would be thinking if I don’t get this money, I’m high and dry.

“Chris Voss said it best, ‘don’t hold yourself hostage.’ If you have that mindset going into the negotiation, you basically hold yourself hostage and you’ve negotiated with yourself before you even go in,” he said.

Going into a negotiation with that mindset also means you’ve conditioned yourself to make concessions before it even happens. It’s a really dangerous mindset to have.

“Emotion is part of what negotiation is. You just have to manage it effectively,” Mark said. “You’ve got to be really disciplined about knowing what you can and can’t give away in order to get the thing that you want.”

The advice comes down to what you are willing and not willing to accept.

Do you really need to prepare for negotiations? Can’t you just pick up the phone and wing it?

As Mark said in the episode, the assumption that you can wing a negotiation is completely wrong. Movies and other media make it seem like a simple process, but in reality, tons of preparation is required. It comes down to decision quality.

“Decision quality is your ability to make good decisions that are in line with what your planned strategy is,” Mark said.

The world of negotiations is a revolving field and Mark shared his thoughts about the way the industry has changed.

“It’s almost like the field has split off and there is a spectrum that exists,” he said. “The theories of negotiations are endless. There’s no hard and fast rule. Some techniques work for some people.”

The field is constantly evolving. Some negotiations will require certain techniques and strategies.

Taking advice from another name in the industry

A name that kept popping up in the episode was Chris Voss. He is the CEO and founder of Black Swan Group and the author of Never Split the Difference. Mark also had the opportunity to interview him on the Negotiation Ninjas podcast. Mark shared his thoughts about the book.

“He gives you the blueprints, that’s super different from most books about negotiation. If you actually apply those things, the vast majority of time they work” Mark said.

If you’re interested in learning more about negotiations, check out the book as well as Mark Raffan’s podcast.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Remember to be nice but not too accommodating! The negotiation needs to work for your company too.

  2. There is no such thing as a win-win in the negotiation world. Mutually beneficial, yes but both parties do not come out with an equal share of the pie.

  3. Prepare for your meetings and pitches. Know what you can and can’t give away in order to get what you want.

If you are interested, you can listen to Mark’s episode of the podcast here:



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