Power Negotiation Tips from 3 Famous Business Leaders


Negotiation is a core aspect in leadership and business. It is both a skill and an art that when mastered can help to competitively position you and bring success to your business.

Whether you are looking for a salary increase, to close a business deal, or to get investors or team members on board with your new idea, you need to negotiate your way to get what you want.

How do well-known investors and moguls like Warren Buffet and Donald Trump close deals worth billions?

How do business leaders such as Marissa Meyer and Sheryl Sandberg manage to get paid fairly and not lower than their male counterparts?

They have mastered the art and skill of successful bargaining to strike the deal.

Here are some lessons from these famous business leaders on how to get what you want through effective negotiation:

Sheryl Sandberg

As the Chief Operating Officer (CEO) at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg is the face of the social media site. In her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will To Lead, she asserts that she had to negotiate her salary with Mark Zuckerberg.

Speaking in particular to women, Sandberg points out that women can and should ask for a pay rise. One common challenge women face when it comes to salary negotiation is the stereotypes that expect them to be nurturing, selfless and non-demanding.

Here’s what Sandberg suggests:

Use the stereotypes to your own advantage. For example, instead of approaching your boss with “I” statements, speak communally to show your nurturing and co-operative side. Invoke common interests so your negotiations will be seen as a larger good, instead of a tactic to just benefit yourself.

It is also important to appear nice and pleasant to able to get what you want. The decision maker ( the person you are negotiating with) will likely compromise if they do not sense any form of aggression, criticalness or arrogance.

Richard Branson

Virgin is one of the most successful brands and Branson is undeniably an incredibly prosperous global business leader.

richardBranson’s public image is that of an easy-going, happy go-lucky person with an ability to charm just about anyone. According to Branson, you can negotiate through anything but it is the ‘nice guys’ who close the deal. Aggressiveness and cunning tactics only serve to make the negotiation process very complex, overstretched and likely to fall through.

Branson suggests that instead of being aggressive, getting angry or playing tricks, know exactly what you want to achieve and then use your leverage to come to an agreement with the other person. This is just how he was able to purchase one of the British Virgin Islands even when his company owed the banks millions of dollars!

Steve Jobs

Jobs was arguably by far one of the most aggressive negotiators in the technology industry. But, his aggression was calculated and not steeped in trickery or emotional decisions.

Here’s what Jobs did to seal huge deals with competitors and key industry players: He issued offers that were hard to say ‘no’ to. Many of the offers were as ridiculous as writing an $80 million check to acquire Lala, a music startup when Apple’s competitors had bid just $11 million.

Jobs was certainly an intensely calculating entrepreneur. He understood that to be able to get what he wanted, he had to make an irresistible offer.

Getting the other person to say ‘yes’ is at the heart of successful negotiations.

Negotiation Tips

Admittedly, it may be easy to assume that the top business leaders have a much easier time getting what they want because they have the resources to position themselves.

However, negotiating is less about having enormous resources and more about understanding your own leverage- whether that’s using stereotypes to your benefit, playing it nice and schmoozing your way to the deal, or laying an irresistible deal on the table.

What’s really important is to master the art of showing your client the value they stand to gain and what they will lose if they let the deal fall through.

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