The heavy gray clouds overhead matched the dread in my stomach as I parked my bicycle beside the endless row of logo-adorned vans. I straightened my suit, took a deep breath, and headed into the imposing 12-story building to meet with the CEO of our biggest client at the time.
As the head of a tiny 8-person startup, it was my job to ensure we got paid before Christmas, but this client was 80x our size and employed more lawyers than we had employees. My mind raced with doomsday scenarios of the financial blow if they refused payment. I knew fully well that if they flat-out refused to pay, despite the contract, there was little I could do.
Never have I felt so very weak.
Ok Filip, smile! Poker face time.
Long story short, they paid up. Maybe the appeal to his pride in being debt-free worked, or it was the emphasis on how the write-off would benefit their taxes. I know I was also lucky, but some combination worked and they paid in front of me.**
So the next time you negotiate with a “giant”, consider your BATNA position – the power lies in the realization that if no deal is reached, they lose more.Think through any dependencies that may create a loss in their eyes, and the path will become clear. _Your leverage is in the client’s mind, waiting for you to unlock it.