People who consistently do poorly in negotiations suffer from a common human failing. They make one or more of these four “hope for the best” mistakes.

#1 They go into negotiations without a plan

#2 They agree on something that isn’t clear

#3 They sign a contract without reading it

#4 They don’t follow up to see that they got what they bargained for

The trouble with “hoping for the best” in negotiation, as in life, is that it’s a dangerous way to live. It trades today’s peace of mind for tomorrow’s aggravation.

What amazes me is how often people go into important personal transactions without thinking through what they want or what their plan is. Real estate brokers and car dealers confirm that most customers do a poor job of negotiating for these high ticket items. Only occasionally does someone come along with a strategy for getting what they want.

Most just flounder around and hope all will go well. For them the “best” never happens. They get less for their money- less car, less service, fewer extras, and less satisfaction.

Professional buyers and salespeople also suffer from “hope for the best” syndrome. They go into negotiations, sometimes multimillion or billion dollar deals, without adequate preparation. They hope for the best by agreeing to terms that are not clear enough, only to find themselves on the short end of the deal later.

“Hoping for the best” is the lazy man’s way to success. It won’t work. The person who puts his or her fate in the hands of luck is sure to lose over the long run. The person who plans will be better prepared for the unexpected.

Hoping for the best makes winners into losers.

When you are entering into a negotiation, far better to plan your strategy and approach than to just hope for the best.

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