Weak Negotiation, Backups and Possible Future

Politics and business look a lot like passages from Sun Tzu, if you stop to think. Without being partisan or going too far into a political judgement, there are some common rules to negotiating. When your position is weak, recognizing this is important. As an agent, a weak position could be working with a highly motivated buyer with a financing position competing to purchase a property with more than one buyer. In politics, the current delay of cabinet confirmations is a perfect example. Most or all will likely be confirmed, but the delay is counter-productive. If you consider Rex Tillerson’s senate confirmation today, recognizing the division serves neither party could preserve a greater chance for future bipartisan decisions.   If the wall isn’t moving, pushing harder is a waste of time.

On open ground, do not try to block the enemy’s way. Sun Tzu

Burning all bridges happens in real estate negotiations as well. As an agent, I choose to be professional in all positions, but recognize every sale and negotiation may not be successful. Preserving credibility for your buyer and yourself sometimes leads forward.  Sometimes an owner and listing agent will share the accepted offer.  This can move my buyer toward being a backup.    Failing at first, sometimes offers an opening. Some buyers back away entirely, but there is almost always some slight possibility of a later second offer. What we’re watching with Trump’s confirmation is equivalent to two buyers. One buyer (political) can almost certainly succeed…on this confirmation and each one after. If the weaker party (with fewer votes) continues to protest, there is a smaller chance of future negotiation, even for second place.  As time passes, their voices may not even be considered.

By the way, I’m finding some of the votes for or against someone like Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, a little fascinating. If the candidate is truly exceptional, why would one party or another choose to obstruct. I’ve been on boards with an obviously difficult choice. It wasn’t my first choice, but I also recognized the consensus and futile nature of voting in opposition to a good, if not my first choice of, alternatives. I’ve also watched board members change votes for, what I felt at the time, amounted to purely political reasons. This is likely to happen in the Gorsuch confirmation. Even though it serves little or no purpose to oppose and even thought Gorsuch appears an almost certain confirmation, he will be opposed for political reasons.

Making anyone an opponent, when you have no possibility of gain, is just foolish…. If you have no chance to win, leave everyone feeling you were a professional and reasonable voice.

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