The Art of Negotiation and Steve Tambellini

Photo by AxelBoldt, via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

I was in Hong Kong last year and while shopping at the market, I learned valuable lessons in the art of negotiation. Nothing in the markets have sticker prices, all items are negotiated. The process usually follows the same formula. A buyer finds something he likes, asks the vendor how much, the vendor sizes up the potential buyer and says a price. The buyer counters resulting in a back and forth that ultimately ends in either finding a common middle ground or one party disdainfully walking away.

Here is how the negotiation went for a pair of shoes I wanted to purchase...

Me: How much?

Vendor: 100 (Hong Kong dollars...Canadian is about one seventh)

Me: TOO MUCH! (that was the response I was told by my friend to use no matter the price given) 30

Vendor: What?!?! 80


Vendor: No No...60...I make no money (This is not meant to be racist, I'm Asian, this is actually what the lady said)

Me: 40, that's it

Vendor: *Sighing* Fine!!! *GRUMBLE GRUMBLE*

I walked away quite pleased with myself. My friend watching the exchange glared at me and said "What the hell was that?!?!"

I replied "I thought I got a good deal"

He walked over to a similar vendor with the identical headphones and here is how his negotiation went...

Friend: How much?

Vendor: 120

Friend: TOO MUCH!!!

Vendor: How much?

Friend: Free

Vendor: No No..100

Friend: 5

Vendor: 75

Friend: 6

Vendor: 50

Friend: 10

Vendor: 25

Friend: 10 Final

Vendor: No, 15

Friend: 10

Vendor: No

And that's when my friend walked away. He explained later that when you are buying something that is readily available at the other stalls, you never go into the first negotiation with the intent of actually buying. You are in a position of power. You hold something that is low on supply (money) and you are trying to buy something that is abundant and have no competition for the product. The only advantage the seller has over you is the fact that he knows his selling point and you don't. Once you've gleaned that information, you are never obligated to pay a single cent over that.

I wonder if Steve Tambellini did this due diligence in his negotiation with Andy Sutton. This is how I imagine the conversation went...

Tambo: How much?

Agent: Making 2.125 this year. Let's extend for 1 year?

Tambo: TOO MUCH!!! How about half?

Agent: Half his pay? That's crazy. My guy has played good this year. I can only drop down to 2mill

Tambo: Sorry 1.5mill is my max

Agent: Come on, you know my guy gets suspended a ton trying to intimidate other teams so they don't hurt your kids. He'll never collect all of that, let's meet in the middle at 1.75

Tambo: How about 1.5 and well kick in an extra 250k if he plays all 82 games.

Agent: *Sighing* FINE! *GRUMBLE GRUMBLE* I'll fax over the paperwork. *Hanging up the phone*

I imagine Andy Sutton and his Agent doing the Dance of Joy immediately after hanging up the phone.

Here is how the negotiation SHOULD have gone...

Tambo: How much?

Agent: Making 2.125 this year. Let's extend for 1 year?

Tambo: TOO MUCH!!! Shut up and put Andy on the phone. Look, I'm going to trade you at the deadline here if we don't re-sign you. 2nd rounders are valuable. I think your value if you play up to the contract is 1.5million but there's no guarantee you will play up to your contract and there is no chance of outplaying your contract. And I'm looking to get a deal here and you don't get deals by paying market value. You're old. I'm rebuilding. My owner doesn't care if I win. Quite frankly, I think he'd be happy if I didn't spend 1.5 million of his money and just went with a cheaper group of young players. He would make more money since the lemmings in this city come to games and buy merchandise even if we are the worst team two years in a row. You want to stay here. You don't want to uproot your family for the 4th time in 4 years. You don't want to sit around during the off-season wondering if the phone will ring or whether your career is over. I'm fine with going with Gilbert, Whit, Pecks, Laddy, Petey and Potsy next year. And if I need somebody, I can find any number of free agents for nothing who are dying just to get the chance to play. So I'm going to offer you 500k. I've offered the same deal to Cam Barker and the first one of you that faxes me back a signed contract gets the deal. Don't wait too long. *CLICK*

Sutton to his agent: I need a pen NOW!!!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this FanPost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of the staff.

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