So there we were, 6 men in an oak panelled boardroom, sat around an enormous mahogany table, staring in disbelief at each other and a speakerphone.
“But we agreed on £5 million”!
“I know, I know. But you know it’s not down to me. The best we can do at this eleventh hour is £4.5 million”
After weeks, that ran into months of going back and forth, crawling over spread sheets, which were needed this way then that way, due diligence on steroids, we were now down to good old fashioned horse trading. Isn’t that always the way at the death.
Haggling was in full force, we were justifying our price, they were chipping us down, for what seemed an eternity.
One of our partners, Big Geoff, a man of great experience and negotiating skills, was sat opposite me across a vast expanse of wood, busy scribbling me a note. This was common practice when you didn’t want the other party at the end of the phone to know what you were discussing. He slid it to the middle of the table.
I was in full flow on the call but made out the word ‘half’ to which I immediately gave the thumbs up.
“Look, we’re getting nowhere like this, just dancing around each trying to look good. Let me cut to the chase. I want £5, you want £4.5. Let’s agree to meet half way, let’s call it £4.75”
Some sucking of air through teeth.
“You drive a hard bargain, we really shouldn’t do this. But, on this occasion – we have a deal at £4.75 million”
“Brilliant, thank you, let’s get our lawyers to draw up the papers and we can all grab a beer”
We hung up on the call and much laughter and back slapping followed.
Bro-mance filled the room.
Big Geoff, the guy who had written the ‘half’ note came over and said “that was masterly, well done you” to which I said “couldn’t have done it without the little note”.
“What are you talking about?”
“Your note – meet me half way”
“No you twat, my note said I have to leave in half an hour”!!!
AND THE MORAL IS: Always be open to inspiration.