Carla DiBello On The Art Of Negotiating

BY Carla DiBello / Sep 19 2016 / 15:47 PM

Carla DiBello’s LA-to-UAE life marries gloss (she is best friends with Kim Kardashian West) with substance (she brokers nine-figure business deals), making her the ultimate expat

Carla DiBello On The Art Of Negotiating
Carla DiBello On The Art Of Negotiating
Ethan Mann
Dress and shoes, Carla's own

In order to make things happen in my line of work, I rely heavily on creative, out-of-the-box thinking in order to continuously bring together large-scale projects. However, a big part of making these projects actually happen comes down to hard core negotiation. Contrary to what a lot of people may think, good negotiation isn’t about winning, or even getting your way; good negotiation is far less about playing hardball and a lot more about building relationships and using strategy to make everyone feel as though they’ve come away with something they’re content with. 

To me, good negotiation starts with a good relationship. It should begin long before you even start to discuss business. Because if you don’t have trust, it’s nearly impossible to move forward in a productive way. Believe me when I say that how  a negotiation turns out is often a direct result of how good your relationship is with whomever you are negotiating with. 
After moving to Dubai, I found this to be particularly true. In the Middle East, relationships are a crucial element – not just in life, but also in business. Quite often, I will spend a great deal of time with people, getting to know them, their families, and the commonalities between us. This is important for so many reasons. Not only do you get to know someone as a person and build a strong bond of trust, but you grow to understand the way a person thinks, his or her goals and values, as well as where he or she may be flexible. And if you are able to build a relationship with someone before having a business-oriented motive in mind, all the better.  
Regardless of what you are negotiating – whether it’s for your job or for everyday life matters, I have five favourite tips that can make any negotiation go far better. 
1. Be authentic. Inauthenticity is one of those things you can see a mile away and will do you no favours when it comes to a negotiation. If the person you are negotiating with can sense that you are truly authentic, it’s the first step to having a person let his or her guard down so that you can find a way to work together. 
2. Understand and know your worth. If you don’t believe in your own worth, how can you expect others to? Knowing this will allow you to stand your ground when you need to, and will help you know when it’s okay to be a little more flexible.
3. Don’t take no for an answer. Take it as an opportunity to ask why. Just because someone says no doesn’t mean that the answer is actually no. People are conditioned to reply with no, often without thinking about what that actually means in the context of your negotiation. Instead of butting heads or giving up, try to respond with questions like, “Just so that I understand, why is this not possible?” Quite often, you will find that the solution you are looking for is in the answer to these questions. 
4. Know when to walk away. Before entering any negotiation, I always assess and understand my bottom line. I am fully aware of where I can compromise and where I can not. Understanding this beforehand prevents me from getting swept up in a deal, or walking away less than satisfied. 
5. Know when to stop talking. One of the most powerful tools in life is the power of silence. It’s incredible how uncomfortable people can become in a silent room – and how much that can truly work in your favour. Try taking longer pauses in between sentences, or being silent for 10 seconds after they make an offer. You may find you don’t need to barter at all – the silence may just do it for you. 
One of the reasons why I love business so much is because I’ve found that the concepts behind many business strategies, including successful negotiations, apply to every aspect of life. From romantic relationships to career, as well as achieving the life you want, strong negotiation skills are essential to being in charge of your own world.