The Top 5 Reasons Small Business Owners Don’t Negotiate and Why They Should


I am attending a Wealthy Thought Leaders Conference in Vancouver this week and one of the events was a one-minute throw down.  I thought I would share mine with you this week.

I am amazed at the number of small business owners who don’t negotiate the deals they make and leave money on the table.  Here are the top 5 reasons why people don’t negotiate and why they should.  “David Letterman style” here they are:

#5 They don’t know how to negotiate or never learned.

   [Negotiation is a skill you can learn, You can even get some good haggling tips just from watching reality shows – American Pickers and Pawn Stars are my favorites.]

#4 They don’t want conflict and want people to like them. 

   [Most people expect you to negotiate and if you don’t negotiate, people will not respect you.]

#3 They don’t know that they can negotiate and accept a standard contract. 

    [Folks you can negotiate anything! Just because it is written on paper, doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone.]

#2 They don’t have confidence and are afraid they might be rejected.

   [Getting a “No” is just a starting point not the end.]

And the # 1 reason people don’t negotiate is:  They are afraid to ask.   We are training people not to ask for what they want and made to feel guilty when they do.  

   [If you don’t ask you will never get it.  So why not take the chance, it’s yours for the asking!

And if you need help negotiating, or developing a negotiation strategy, come see me at

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  1. You did great during the one minute throwdown, can’t wait to see your video. And all your points are well taken, too!

  2. Negotiation truly is an art and one we should all learn. You hit all the points dead on for why people don’t negotiate. Some things I have an easier time negotiating than with others. I think a lot depends on who is on the other end.

  3. These resonated with me, Bill! But the one that makes me rethink my aversion to haggling is that I really DO believe in asking for what you want. When I frame it that way, negotiation seems like a natural way of doing things!

  4. Good point about never asking Bill. If you don’t ask you definitely don’t get!

  5. I like that you say, “no is just a starting point.” So many people are really afraid of the word, “no” and they’re totally stumped and defeated when they hear it.

  6. Words true to my heart! We’ve taught our kids from day one to NEVER accept no as the first answer, and to negotiate everything. We have taught them that often No doesn’t really mean no … it just means not with the terms you’ve presented. When they haven’t liked our answers to their requests and have stomped off in anger and frustration, we’ve later sat down with them and explained how instead of getting mad, they could have asked again in a different way, or rephrased their question and received a different answer.

    Now, while we’re proud of the little negotiators they have become (especially at garage sales), we’re paying the price! They never take no for an answer now! They always go whisper, plan, regroup, and come back with a different offer/request!

    I think they are getting smarter than we are! Or at least learning how to work us over 🙂

    But I do have to say, as the responsible parent, we do tell them that as kids, there are some instances where they have to accept the first answer/thing they are told – like at school. There, the teacher rules all 🙂

    Jennifer Bourn, Bourn Creative
    Transforming Businesses into Extraordinary Brands with Websites That Work When You’re Not Working.