Getting others on board with your plan can be challenging, especially when there are many people involved and/or there is much at stake relative to risk and potential upside. A critical step in artful deal-making is to convey and articulate your vision of the outcome in such a way that the opposing party will desire that very same outcome. The WIIFM—what’s in it for me—factor must be made crystal clear to the other party as you present your position. Of course, to do this effectively, you must first understand or predict based on sound preparation what the vision of the other party is likely to be at the onset of negotiations. This way you can appropriately integrate synergistic ideas so that the visions ultimately meld. In addition, vision buy-in will be facilitated if you underscore to the other person that he will still be involved at a conceptual level as the project ensues.
You have to be humble but firm to effectively broker a deal. There’s a fine line between the two, particularly when you’re dealing with people who have already attained a measure of success. Always respect the positions of the other people involved in your negotiations no matter how badly or not you want the deal. It’s important to be fair and honest about the negotiation and to keep your intentions pure. You need to let people know you have the ability and desire to perform the task you’re charged with. You also need to showcase with quantifiable examples that you put a 100% effort behind everything you do. At the same time you must express genuine respect and appreciation for the other parties, what they have done and who they are—even if they’re, well, jerks. Even a jerk can grow to appreciate, respect and ultimately benefit you, and once that two-way street is established, negotiations can ensue and deals can be made. Humility with backbone—it’s a tricky combination to maintain, but one that’s absolutely mission critical.