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Principles of Negotiation for a Pawn Star Broker

Principles of Negotiation for a Pawn Star Broker

Yesterday, while in Vegas for the Sales Leadership Roundtable, I attended a breakfast with Rick Harrison, owner of a $60 million franchise that includes a pawn broker business in Las Vegas and a reality TV show on the history channel.  His show is broadcast in 38 countries, and he showed me a video on his iPhone of his arrival in Singapore.  20,000 screaming fans treating him like one of the Beatles. 2014-03-06 19.22.39-3

So how do you build a $60,000,000.00 business and become world famous?  Well, the first thing you could do is persistently tell yourself you are.  Rick painted “The World famous” on the side of his business 20 years ago, and his vision board has come true.

But to deserve that title you have to work hard and negotiate like a champion.  And Rick is a world class negotiator.  Whether it is negotiating to obtain the only pawn broker license being offered in Las Vegas, or putting his business on Nightline, and a major TV show, to publishing royalties for his book, a New York Times best seller – Rick is his own manager.

And it goes right beside the point that negotiated at his pawn shop all day, every day, without a vacation for the first 10 years of opening his business.

So over the airplane ride home I read the book, and it is an awesome five hour read.  And here is what I took out of it:

WORLD FAMOUS GOLD & SILVER TIPS FOR NEGOTIATION

1 ~ YOU HAVE GOT TO BE ABLE TO WALK AWAY

Identifying a potential deal is exciting, but you have to put in the time to consider all potential roadblocks to your desired position.  The Old Man, Rick’s father, taught him “Your sentimentality isn’t mine.”  Sentimentality cannot be reliably transferred, so it is considered a vanished collateral, and therefore present value doesn’t exist. In the process of negotiation, you always have to consider the time it will it take to arrive at the completed objective.

2 ~ IT’S JUST STUFF

Rick has gone through 10 wedding rings in his marital career, and 1 was so he could get another ring re-sized immediately.  He need some scrap platinum to enlarge a ring so he could satisfy the customer’s urgency, and to make himself some big cash.  It’s just stuff.  You can live without it.  And you will get more.  It’s disposable, superficial stuff.

3 ~ DON’T TIP YOUR HAND

This is where you act out the mastery of the other four principles for negotiation.  And the pawn broker recommends this to the buyer and the seller.  Once you know the other side will capitulate, negotiations are over.  You have to focus on this philosophy to embrace it, because it must show in your body language, tone of voice and attitude.  “If the seller shows he is not willing to walk away, if he indicates through body language or words that he absolutely has to get this done, he’s yours.  He’s also lost money.

4 ~ NEVER GIVE THE FIRST NUMBER

Now in a lot of the business I do, this is impossible.  But his point that all information is power still applies.  And everything said gives further indication toward perceived position in the negotiation process. So play your hand close to your chest.  Another point made is that it’s not your job to educate the other side on their value.  They know where it comes from, what their future needs are.  All that is trying to be done at this point is to see if there can be an agreement.

5 ~ NEVER HAVE A HARSH NEGOTIATION

Rick is a big believer in Karma.  Keep things fair.  Laugh, joke and have fun.  Engage, ask for stories, and tell some.  Again, all information is power.  And personal information tells more about where the other side is coming from.  Allow for people to become more comfortable.  If you have ever watched his show, you have seen the pawn star often tell the story about his side of negotiation.  You can win the negotiation and still ask for referrals.

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