Jay Holmes: Welcome to the Medical Management Podcast. A podcast focused on helping you level up your practice. Through interviews with some of the most successful leaders in the industry, we help uncover resources, tools, and ideas to help you level up your practice. Thanks for tuning in and we hope you enjoy today's program.
Jay Holmes: Welcome back to the Medical Management Podcast, this is Jay, bringing you another informative episode. Today, we get to spend some time with our very own, Jesse Arnoldson, discussing how to negotiate as your best self. Jesse?
Jesse Arnoldson: Hey, everybody!
Jay Holmes: Well, yeah, no, no intro needed. Let's just jump right into it. So, you know, really excited about this episode just because I think that this topic has so many applications in so many different aspects of your life. And so with that, let's jump right in.
Jesse Arnoldson: Let's do it.
Jay Holmes: OK, tell me, kind of, call to action are you wanting to put out here today through this negotiating as your best self?
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah, no, thanks, Jay. Through my, the last few years of my career, what I've been realizing and discovering is there's these skills, this kind of undercover skills that nobody thinks about, that we just take for granted like we're good negotiators or we're good decision-makers or even that those things are skills that we can be good or bad or improve upon or lose our edge-on. And so, you know, negotiating is one of those undercover skills or under-noticed skills that a practice manager absolutely has to have, and to do right by your practice, you need to be good at it. You can't avoid this skill and hope that you are appropriately paying people what they should be paid, at least a decent deal, if not the best deal for your practice through vendors and purchasing equipment and supplies, getting people to do what you need them to do and finding the right motivation to get them there. All of these things go back to the basic skill of negotiating. And so my call to action is that people take this, consider negotiating a skill that you can be good or bad at, improve or worsen at depending on how much you pay attention to it. So let's pay attention to it and figure out how to get better at it.
Jay Holmes: Jesse, I couldn't agree with you more. The reality, reality of what really a successful negotiation looks like, I think is misunderstood as well.
Jesse Arnoldson: Absolutely.
Jay Holmes: And kind of rolling into that. Why do you think most people are a little bit timid in this pursuit of becoming a better negotiator?
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah, when you think about negotiating, most people immediately go to the hard-nosed kind of guy. The boardroom suits, the people who are willing to just be really cutthroat to get whatever, the very best deal. And, you know, it makes everybody hella uncomfortable. That version scares me. I don't want to beat that. But that is what whenever you talk about who's a good negotiator, people like that float to the top of your mind. When people think about that, they either, one, are too uncomfortable to ever get into that arena, or two, recognize that they just don't want to be like that. And so they just avoid, quote-unquote, negotiating because that's all they imagine it to be.
Jay Holmes: Yeah, Right. They think that negotiating is all about getting a basement bottom price.
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah.
Jay Holmes: And that's it. And if you can't completely just steamroll your vendors or your employees or anything, then you're not a good negotiator, which is, you know, falls back to this idea that just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Jesse Arnoldson: Absolutely.
Jay Holmes: Right? Because in, taking a step back and realizing that there are so many other factors and forces at play in a negotiation, in a relationship, because that's what you're doing, right, that just because you get a lower price, if you've ruined the trust or the motivation to be a good partner, you've done way more damage by feeling like you've won because you've got a five hundred dollar discount. And from the life of the contract or the relationship, and there's always a win-win, that's the goal, right? Is really finding that not to steal your thunder here, but let's double click on this idea of negotiating is your best self and tell me more about that.
Jesse Arnoldson: Absolutely. Let's come back right after this to, we didn't talk about this before, but what is a successful negotiation? Let's come back to that. But this idea of negotiating as your best self, you don't have to be the cutthroat guy, the car salesman, whatever it is, to get the very best deal and steamroll the other person. In most cases, there is no fixed pie. There's a version of a negotiation where you don't have to be the stereotypical negotiator. So negotiating as your best self, which really means what's your personality? What are your strengths? And then let's tweak a couple of things, give you a couple of tools, whatever it may be, to make that version of you successful in your conversations. And so if you're a little bit quiet, a little bit timid, that's OK. There are ways in which you can be a successful negotiator, whether that's by improving your preparation and just being very ready for all sorts of different scenarios or using your quietness to kind of draw them in and bring down there, if the other person is a cutthroat or really outspoken loud person, kind of bringing them back down to where you're at. If you're just a normal Joe Schmo, there are lots of different things you can do to set the tempo for your speed and not for any sort of rumble royale, cage match with the other person.
Jay Holmes: 100 percent, 100 percent. You know, where do we go next? You know, I think we have kind of two things here we could kind of divert to, you know, what's a good outcome in a negotiation and then kind of the what are those things that we can do to build our skills? Let's go into the what a good outcome looks like in a negotiation.
Jesse Arnoldson: I kind of think of three things when I'm negotiating. First, did I do well by myself or the organization I'm representing? It's not, did I get the absolute, did I get every single penny I could have? No, that's not it. Did I do well by them? Can I go back or can I look at, look at them or look at myself in the mirror and say, I think we did well out of this? Two, did I maintain or create a good relationship? You spoke to, what if I get that last little bit, the last five hundred dollar discount? The thing is, is that it's more important to have a good relationship than it is to save just a few more dollars. By saving a few more dollars, you may alienate the person sitting on the other side of the table. They can't go back and say they got a decent deal and therefore they may resent you in the future, when it comes up for them to maybe go a little bit above and beyond for you, they won't. There's a chance that they could save your butt or just kind of let things go, they won't stand up for you, your relationship's gone. So again, first, did I do a good job for who I represent? Have I created a good relationship? We're good working relationship? And then third, did I live up to my own ethics? I remember I was representing a clinic that was soliciting a quote for janitorial services. And the physician that I was representing just kept pushing and pushing to do this as cheap as possible. And I did it. Man, I squeezed every last drop out of that rock and I felt terrible. I didn't, I thought about it as I was trying to go to sleep, couldn't sleep because this was a small business that we were working with. And we had really just, I knew what their costs probably were. And I felt like maybe we had really done them wrong. And to the second point, that relationship was not a good one. They're going forward. And there were times where if they could have stepped up and gone above and beyond for us or just watched out for us a little bit more, they didn't. And it hurt us way more than what we saved by the few more dollars than we stuck it to them. So I do right by myself? Do we have a good working relationship? And did we live up to a certain ethical standard? That's what I see as a good outcome.
Jay Holmes: I love it. I do think that's important. At the end of the day, you do have to work with these people.
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah.
Jay Holmes: Afterwards, right, generally, right? And even if it's the sale of a business or.
Jesse Arnoldson: Ninety-nine percent of negotiations with people, circle back.
Jay Holmes: Right.
Jay Holmes: What about negotiating, Jay, what have we negotiated with a medical assistant for our clinic and we got her at the absolute lowest price possible, is that really a moment where you and I should be high-fiving each other? No!
Jay Holmes: Yeah, absolutely, right.
Jesse Arnoldson: That probably's going to resent us!
Jay Holmes: Should we put that person on such defense that they think now that any time we have an opportunity to shortchange him or her, we do. And then if we turn around and say, by the way, do you mind going above and beyond for us? And they look at us and say, well, that's certainly not the taste that was put in my mouth day one of my job. And yeah, it's just, it's so short-sighted, it blows my mind. That is the thought process it's, in end, it's do you want to push someone to barely make any money, have any margin on the work they do for you so that you completely reduce any motivation for them to do well? And that's the challenge, right? You want to find a good spot where both sides feel like this is worthwhile to do the best we can for each other.
Jesse Arnoldson: I talked to one guy one time that when he would negotiate with vendors, he would have different points in his range, and I think we're all kind of used to the term the BATNA, the best alternative to a negotiated agreement. That's kind of like the, you know, this is the lowest point I'm willing to go with this one. And this is the best alternative to, if it goes below that. But he would have a range of two more points where I think if I really push this, I could get to, and then back off 10 percent and he wouldn't go beyond that 10 percent. He would always leave a little bit on the table as a sort of relationship collateral peace. I thought it was interesting like he really thought this through and was using those last few dollars to buy himself a better relationship with the vendor.
Jay Holmes: Yeah, no, that's interesting. Just to throw a story on this, back in my prior years in a different business, but in the process of selling that, a sticking point in the sale was the lack of willingness to, in the contract, require that business insurance would be held. And from my perspective, since I was no longer in the business, I was unable to get insurance to cover like, you know, what we call tail. It's tail insurance. In this certain industry, I just couldn't do that because I had left the industry. And the attorney that was representing the other party was certainly if we can, we will, rather than if we can, should we?
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah!
Jay Holmes: And I'll tell you what, since that occurred, I've had many opportunities to refer business to this company and I've chosen not to because of that one small thing. And the end of the day, there's no logical reason why the company would not have had insurance. But the perception was, well, what if we accidentally have laps of coverage then? Does that mean this contract is completely null and we don't want to take that just microscopic risk.
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah.
Jay Holmes: And to my point was, well, I can't, there is no way for me to cover any of the risks, so I'm relying on you too, for the three payments you have to make over the course of the next three years, write a check, make your payment. And that was a struggle. And at the end of the day, whatever relationship we had, completely broken and what the potential benefit of having a positive, an ally, coming forward to eliminate that, over I might misplace the check that I need to pay, and I don't want to take that risk, is just foolish. And it's, you know, you scratch your head and say, just because you can doesn't mean you should. And what potential relationship harm is this going to cause? Certainly, something to think through.
Jesse Arnoldson: Oh, my gosh, absolutely. And we all have a story similar to that, hopefully, and what the lesson I'm hoping that we're learning from that is how do we want to be treated, that golden rule and turning around and reapplying it to other people. And that's, that is the absolute opposite of what the stereotypical negotiator does. So going back to negotiating as your best self, whatever your personality, I don't think that there's a personality that is inherently bad at negotiating, just inherently opposite of what the stereotype is. And so if you're a person who cares about other people, a person who thinks about other people, who doesn't want to be in an uncomfortable situation, not because they're not OK with having hard discussions, but because they don't want to put somebody else in a bad spot, that's OK. You don't have to be like that. That's the whole point of this.
Jay Holmes: Well, it almost makes you a better negotiator because of the empathy that you carry, which is really the point of this podcast, and this episode is that empathy drives successful negotiations.
Jesse Arnoldson: Absolutely.
Jay Holmes: So let's quickly just jump into really some ways that we can develop and become a better negotiator.
Jesse Arnoldson: You know, I'd say, there's probably three key areas in which I think anybody you know, there's lots of different ones. But let's talk about these top three preparation, different resources, and practice. Preparation, there is so much to be said about the benefit that comes from doing a little bit of extra work before you ever step into the room or get on that phone with the other person. Getting a process in place that helps you understand exactly what the range is that you're willing to go through the style that you want to try, the things you want to put out there for the other person. What they, thinking a little bit about what they may be wanting, their biggest motivators for every hour of negotiation you do, you should probably do several hours of preparation leading up to it. So I would say that that's one of them. And there's there are different ways to prepare. And I think that it matters more about the kind of preparation you put in than the amount of time. So get out there and look for the process that works best for you. Jumping into resources, there's a little bit of tie here. There are lots of different books out there, lots of different podcasts, things that you can get into. I'd say that there's probably four of my favorites. There's a negotiate anything podcast that I think was really good. Never Split the Difference is a book by an FBI, a former FBI and hostage negotiator. Getting to Yes is probably the opposite style of Never Split the Difference. So it's good to read those two together and kind of get a feel for different styles. And then finally, there is this book that I, feels like the best textbook version of negotiation I've ever read, and it was called How to Negotiate the Very Best Deal. And there's a place in there for preparation that I just kind of a template I think is the best I've seen. So just kind of putting a plugin for those different resources. And then finally practice, this is the most important. We negotiate dozens of times a day, whether that's with trying to motivate different people to do stuff within the clinic, with different vendors, you go home and, you know, speaking with your spouse. I negotiate regularly with my children to try and get them to go to bed or brush their teeth.
Jay Holmes: How does that go?
Jesse Arnoldson: You know, the same dumb routine.
Jay Holmes: How does that go on, man?
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah! Every night, we have the same thing! How is it that I consider myself a decent negotiator, how am I coming back every night to have the same negotiation and losing 50 percent? I don't know. So recognize that those are instances to practice. Try something, learn. Try it again, learn. We have this very fast feedback loop if we recognize all the different ways we get to practice negotiating throughout the day. And we can get better just by utilizing that feedback loop, that very fast one, and trying to learn one thing from each of those 20, 30, 40 different instances throughout the day that we get to practice negotiating. Those are my three instances of how I would try and develop that skill and improve.
Jay Holmes: I like it. I want to put a highlighter on a couple of them, just with a perspective coming from my end, that I think, you know, one of the most important things is really knowing what you want and knowing what the priority is on that list of wants, which is so critical because your priority is often almost always different than the other side's priority.
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah.
Jay Holmes: And so they say that the greatest debaters out there spend more time coming up with the commonalities than they do about the issues that are polarized. And they do that so that they can understand that 95 percent of this engagement, this relationship, we are on the same page and we want the same thing. And then that allows for the perspective that really what we're doing here is your two and a half percent, my two and a half percent, that we need to work through how it can benefit me a little bit more because it impacts me more. And the amount of gain that I get from my side is not equivalent to the loss that you get on your side. And that's why there's always an opportunity for a win-win. And so that's kind of, there's really two sides. You really have to understand what you want and what's the most important. And then either before or during your biggest goal is to understand what the other party wants. And the challenge there is that maturity of the negotiator on the other side isn't always there. They haven't prepared as much sometimes, or they don't just realize what is the most important thing because everything can't be the most important thing. That's just not how it works. It never works that way. So it's really coming on your side what's most important and trying to uncover either through preparation or through just the actual process of communicating, finding that out and then once you know that then it's pretty easy to say, well, look, you know, here, here are 95 percent of things that work great with, here are a couple of things that are most important to you, then how are we going to work there? Because really the goal is to find, to come to the realization that the most of the things that they want aren't as detrimental to you as they are positive to them and then vice versa.
Jesse Arnoldson: Absolutely.
Jay Holmes: And those things happen, right? But it does take preparation.
Jesse Arnoldson: Yeah.
Jay Holmes: That's the highlight that I'll put on that last answer. Jesse, awesome stuff, man, really appreciate you, your insights on negotiating as we all can get better.
Jay Holmes: For all of you out there listening, thank you for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Jesse and for the show notes, transcripts, material from the show, and everything else really that MedMan does head over to our website at MedMan.com. And remember, we'll be here twice a week sharing insights, ideas, and tools to help you level up your practice. Thanks again for joining us.
Jay Holmes: Thanks for tuning in to the Medical Management Podcast. We hope you enjoyed today's featured guest. For the show notes, transcripts, resources, and everything else MedMan does to help you level up, be sure to visit us at MedMan.com.
Negotiating with your best self is a skill that can be applied to many aspects of life.
In this episode, Jay discusses this topic with Jesse. Negotiation is a skill like decision-making or problem-solving. As with every skill, you can train yourself to become better at it. To negotiate as your best self you have to recognize your personality traits and strengths. Jesse thinks about three things when negotiating: first, how well did you represent yourself or the company you work for; second, the relationship you create with the other party that is negotiating; and three, did you live up to your ethics? Jesse also reflects on those key things you can work on to become a better negotiator.
Negotiations are successful when there’s a win-win relationship between everyone involved.
Some skills go undercover.
Negotiation is one of those skills that practice managers need to have.
Relationships are negotiation processes too.
Most people get discouraged when they have to negotiate.
99% of negotiations circle back.
Remember Jesse’s 3 things to look out for as a negotiation outcome.
BATNA stands for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.
Empathy drives successful negotiations.
Jesse states three areas to work on to become a better negotiator: Preparation, Resources, and Practice.
Instate a feedback loop for your negotiations and learn from it.