“Robby,” said Granddad as we sat on the bench seeking a breeze to beat the sweltering heat, “If you’re any kind of trader you ought to be able to skin the other fella. But don’t do it. Always leave goodie in the deal for the other guy.”
In poker terms, Granddad left a lot of money on the table. He actually planned to leave money on the table! What kind of negotiator is that?
Anthropologists studying the Mediterranean area 10,000 BC showed that virtually everyone was connected with a tribe, or family that stayed together and looked after one another. This was necessary for survival.
The studies cite two types of negotiators, those who negotiated between tribes, and those who negotiated within the tribe. Those negotiating between tribes were expected to go for the throat. Lying and cheating were allowed and even cheered and respected.
Those that negotiated within the tribe were, on the other hand, expected to be honest, fair and accommodating.
Since Granddad had to quit school after fourth grade, I doubt that he got a chance to study anthropology, but he was wise enough to figure out which negotiation method was right for the situation.
Granddad recognized the fact that in this small community of Claremore, dealing with family and neighbors, he was going to be doing business with the same people over and over again. Going for the throat, always grinding for the last dollar of the deal was actually counterproductive! Trust and confidence were far more important!
I once heard an automotive sales trainer say that every customer coming in the front door of the showroom had larceny in his heart. The best, upstanding, churchgoing people became dirty, low-down liars any time a car deal was being negotiated.
It’s mano y mano. Right?
Even honest car salesmen make the mistake of trying to get the best of every negotiation. They may make more on the deal, but, in a small town, what goes around comes around. Those tactics that work fine in the big city fall flat in a small town.
As hokey as it seems, our family is still in the store the old man started. We actually determine the least amount of profit it takes for us to operate with a fair return, then we try to charge everyone that same fair price.
Virtually every Automobile Sales Trainer on Earth would contend our method is just misguided and ridiculous!
Leaving so much money on the table is just not smart. Or is it?