The Gospel of Win-Win

The Client Letter
The Gospel of Win-Win
September 27, 2011
Sedona, Arizona

Have you ever gone into a client negotiation and said something like, “I want to create a win-win situation here. Something where we all win.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve said that (or thought that) many times. Or at least I’ve nodded my head in agreement when somebody else said somthing nuts like that to me.

I’ve come to a conclusion that “win win” is a bunch of hogwash.

Business is a game. It is the game of exchanging value for money. And in games, there’s no such thing as win-win.

In Business Just Like In Games, There
Are Winners and There Are Losers

Just like in a game, there are people who win and get their way and there are those that don’t.

No need to feel bad about it. It’s just the way it’s set up.

Let’s say you submit a project and the client comes back and says, “We want to do it, but we’ll have to pay you in 28 installments. Don’t worry, you’ll be paid up by the year 2028 no problem.”

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Now I’m exaggerating there a bit but would you call that a Win-Win situation?

Some people might say, “Well, this IS a win-win because you’re getting the client and they’re getting favorable payment terms.”

Eek. I’d call that a sucky situation.

Look at how Apple does business. Are they compromising like this?

No, their approach is more like, we’re going to make stuff that is so darn awesome that everyone will want it. And better yet, they’ll want it so much that they’ll be willing to do business 100% on our terms.

Apple does business on their own terms.

Don’t YOU want to do business on your own terms?

I know I do. That’s why you might want to give up the idea of win-win. I think it was probably created by some person who knew they didn’t have what it takes to actually go out and ask for what they want.

The current idea of “win-win” is more like a nice word for compromise. And I can’t think of any great thing that is borne out of compromise. That’s not to say that we all choose to compromise all the time. That’s just reality. But liking the process and talking about it with words like “win-win” is just crazy in my book.

Great things are created by people with vision who are unwilling to stop until that vision is realized.

Don’t you want your business to be great?

Call that cold and callous if you want, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

A win win in my book doesn’t mean you compromise. It means that you’ve set things up so that your clients take what you offer and are happy with it.

You DO win, because you’re doing business on your terms, and they win because they have the perception they’ve won.

To do this, you need excellent marketing, confidence and the ability to deliver excellent work.

See you tomorrow,

Jason Leister
Editor, The Client Letter
Creating Success for Independent Professionals