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Harvey Mackay’s 6 rules for dealing

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Mackay Envelope Co. CEO Harvey Mackay built his empire by negotiating strategic deals … with paper makers, printers, suppliers. Nearly everything he built involved a deal.

Here are Mackay’s six top rules for power dealing:
  1. Never accept a first offer, no matter how good it seems.

  2. Don’t negotiate with yourself. If your offer is rejected, wait for a counteroffer instead of making one yourself.

  3. If your opponent says he or she needs final approval on an agreement you’ve struck, remember one thing: You don’t have an agreement. Ask to negotiate directly with the person in command.

  4. If you can’t say “Yes,” say “No.” It’s better than “Maybe.”

  5. Don’t be cloyed by printed contracts you’re supposed to sign. Read them, mark them up, change them. Don’t succumb to thinking that an agreement in writing is set in stone.

  6. Learn everything you can about the other side. “Instincts are no match for information,” says Mackay.
— Adapted from Pushing the Envelope All the Way to the Top, Harvey Mackay, Ballantine.

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