Maria Mercedes Mooney, often known as Fish Mooney, is a hotheaded gangster boss lady who can read people like an open book. This character on the TV series Gotham (FOX) is played by Jada Pinkett Smith and she’s one of my favorite female characters on TV. She’s one tough cookie and I have watched her negotiate herself out of some sticky situations on the show.
Here are 7 business negotiation skills I learned from watching Fish Mooney handle her opponents in Gotham’s crime underworld:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Mooney is not shy at all; in fact she gets right to the point. She’s not afraid to ask. She shows you that EVERYTHING is negotiable. Mooney is very assertive and doesn’t take NO for an answer. She has this cool way of asking for what she wants, without being too aggressive at times. Especially when she doesn’t have the upper hand.
- Make sure you have what they want. Having something the other person wants puts you in a better position to negotiate. Mooney always makes it a point to get something they want and make sure she has it on lock BEFORE she starts negotiations.
- Don’t be in a rush. Jada’s character is calculating and waits for the right opportunity to get in a position to be able to negotiate. People are always in a rush. Haste makes waste and also leaves money on the table.
- Set High Expectations. Mooney aims high. She tries to get all she can get first. Then she may settle for a little less depending on how the negotiation is going. But if you expect more, usually you will get more. Do you value your goods or services? Well set the price accordingly. Don’t make them cheap just to get a client.
- Speak to the decision maker. Mooney doesn’t waste her time dealing with people who cannot make the final decision. She always tries to negotiate with the head person in charge. If you are in a position to go to the main decision maker to negotiate with, then this is always a better option and doesn’t waste time going through the gatekeepers.
- Flattery will get you everywhere. People buy services or products from people they like. Mooney knows this. I’ve watched her sweet talk her way into many deals. I know you’ve dealt with that sales person that is nice and compliments you. They know that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. But remember to be sincere. Fake flattery will make you seem less credible.
- Silence is golden. Silence can be a very effective negotiating tactic. Mooney says what she wants and then looks the other person directly in the eyes and waits for them to respond. We often talk our way out of a deal or talk our way into a lesser deal that isn’t in our favor. It also works the other way too. When someone makes an offer, pause and take time to consider what they said before you respond.
Negotiation skills are necessary in business. Look around and observe how people negotiate for even the smallest things throughout your day. You may be surprised to see that you are more skilled at negotiation than you think.