Posted: 5:47 p.m. Monday, July 22, 2013
By Jana Kasperkevic
Want to be a better negotiator? These women have mastered the art of getting their way. Here's their advice.
Everyone knows about leaning in. But before there was Sheryl Sandberg, other women were paving the way -- Barbara Corcoran, Arianna Huffington, and Bobbi Brown, to name just a few. These ladies make a worthy opponent across the negotiating table, so read on for their tips on how to seal the deal with class.
Tell yourself you have the right to be there. To build up the courage take risks like meeting Donald Trump, Corcoran repeated a mantra her mother always told her. "'I have the right to be here. I have the right to claim success for what I want. I have the right to be somebody.' And I would tell myself that again and again and again," Corcoran tells Inc..
Don't let them intimidate you. The first time she met Todd English to discuss a job opportunity, Lynch showed up two hours late because she couldn't find his restaurant. "I finally got there, and this big handsome chef comes out and says, 'I didn't think you were going to show up.' I said, 'Well, what stupid person would put a f---ing restaurant here?' He was like, 'Oh, I guess you're sassy.' He hired me as chef for their café." Lynch is known for her brassy style and famously lied about her cooking skills to get her first job as a chef.
Know when to bluff. When Brown was trying to get her lipstick into department stores, Bergdorf Goodman told her they couldn't take her product. "I remember my stomach dropping when I got the message. I was at a photo shoot for Saks and telling the creative directors and art directors about this new line, and they said, 'Oh, my God. We want it.' I called Bergdorf back and said, 'That's too bad, but don't worry because Saks wants it.' Bergdorf called me back 10 minutes later and said, 'Uh-uh. We're going to take it.' I never even went to the right people at Saks. Now I know that's called bluffing."
Know that sometimes 'no' just means 'not now.' When The Huffington Post first launched, many people said no to blogging, Hufffington recalls. But they soon changed their mind. "I remember Norman Mailer said, 'I can't do it -- I can't do anything until I finish my book.' I said, 'Fine, no problem.' Three months later, there was this scandal of guards at Guantánamo flushing the Koran down the toilet. Norman calls me and says, 'OK, I'll write about that. I'll e-mail you.'"
Vet them as much as they are vetting you. von Tobel says entrepreneurs aren't the only ones who should be vetted when VCs are negotiating funds. She recommends getting references -- and not only talking to the companies that performed well. Talk with the ones that went sideways to find out how the investors handled the tough times.
Hire a lawyer. In any negotiation, make sure you have the big guns on backup. "I don't believe all VCs are adversarial, but the first thing I tell everyone is, 'Get your own lawyer.' Don't buy lines like, 'You guys are busy, we'll just have someone draw up some papers and it will be very pro forma.' Yeah, right." Lerner learned this lesson the hard way. When she worked with her investor's father, she did not realize the agreement she signed left out her employment contract. Shortly after Cisco Systems went public in 1990, she was pushed out of the company she founded.
Make sure they get what you're doing. No one knows this better than Blakely, who invented Spanx and had to search for a patent lawyer and hosiery supplier in a world of men. "You could see me trying to explain to the men how I am going to change the world and make women's butts better and that this is going to be the idea that everyone would love," she says. Two weeks after being rejected by every hosiery mill she visited, Blakely received a mysterious phone call. "'Sara, I have decided to help make your crazy idea,"' the mill owner said. When she asked about his change of heart, he admitted, "I have two daughters."