Earlier this year I was thinking about what skills I need to master if I’m really going to replace my self-employed mindset with a true business owner mindset.

I came up with a list of several skills but the one I felt I needed to focus on the most was negotiation.

After getting into some bad deals I realized my negotiating skills sucked!

So I’ve decided to improve in this area. I’m reading a great book right now called Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

Voss was the FBI’s #1 international hostage negotiator for 15 years. I’m loving his book because it’s based on real world experience instead of academic theories and concepts.

There’s so many good lessons that I plan to share on here once I finish my book notes. But the one thing that has stood out to me the most is this:

No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal

In other words, “don’t compromise.” That may sound arrogant or selfish but in Chapter 6: Bend Their Reality, Voss argues that the real reason we compromise is not because it’s the right thing to do. He says:

“We compromise because it’s easy and it saves face. We compromise in order to say that at least we got half the pie… Most people in a negotiation are driven by fear or the desire to avoid pain. Too few are driven by their actual goals.”

I realize that’s exactly why I compromise. I could say it’s because I’m trying to find a “fair” solution. But it’s not.

When I quote someone a price and they ask me to lower it and I do, is that really fair? Or is it just fear masquerading as fairness.

The bottom line is I need to master the skill of negotiation if I’m going to be a better business person. I’m done having people walk all over me and use anger or threats to get their way.

I’m dealing with a situation right now where the person is making unreasonable demands on me and my team. He wants us to do work that is clearly outside the scope of what we agreed on and he got upset today.

So I now I get to practice what I’m learning! It’s always easier to just read about this stuff and write about it then it is to actually do it!

But that’s the only way to get better, right?

So again, the thought I want to leave you with is the same thought I’m meditating on lately: no deal is better than a bad deal.

Sometimes you just have to walk away from bad deals, bad clients and bad partners. Don’t stay in dysfunctional relationships just for the sake of money. Do what you need to do to replace your unhealthy business relationships with healthy ones.