[The standard disclaimer certainly applies today: Never, ever take anything you read here at The Source as legal advice! Always, always seek the input of qualified counsel in advance of any business decisions you undertake! -WG]
In lease negotiations, it’s the understatement of the year to say “the devil is in the details”. Carefully combing through commercial lease terms will expose not only the devil, but also clues as to how he got there. It’s ineffective bargaining at negotiation time that can leave parties to a lease painted into a corner when important circumstances arise. Long after the negotiations are done, the skill level brought to bear on the job of bargaining looms large. As a property manager, broker, leasing agent or landlord, are your negotiation skills up to par? Or are you leaving money on the table?
As I’ve written about here before, one tremendous resource for learning about the art and science of negotiation comes from the Ivy League.
Free Report From Harvard Law Program On Negotiation
Get a fast and free self-check on your skills as a negotiator from Harvard Law School’s Program On Negotiation (PON). PON is a consortium program of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University dedicated to studying the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. Their latest report is entitled How To Negotiate Better Business Deals, and it’s available for free from PON via download link below.
The free report covers a laundry list of techniques to improve negotiation effectiveness, including:
- Ask for a renegotiation – Most people have an innate desire to be fair and they may be willing to reopen a discussion before the end of your contract period
- Present a concrete case – By presenting clear evidence of a lopsided contract, you can appeal to the other side’s sense of decency and desire for a good faith negotiation
- Make attention-getting moves – Help your counterpart situ up and take notice by refusing to meet the contested contract terms
- Bring out the big guns – Sometimes a show of power works, so put heavy hitters in charge of negotiating contract revisions
- And while I can’t turn back time, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals also shared some critical business negotiation strategies that can help me get the deal right in the first place:
- Create breaks – Try experimenting with a shorter contract that allows for natural breaks for review and renegotiation
- Prepare for disputes – Disputes are often inevitable so add a clause to your contract that requires renegotiation, mediation, or arbitration in the event of a disagreement
- Avoid quick fixes – It’s not unusual to want to latch on to the fastest fix in a business negotiation; however, it’s best to take the time to make a careful decision.
Download the free Harvard Law PON report from this link.