One of the tips in my upcoming Think Like A Negotiator book is “Prepare In Advance.” Part of the preparation includes another tip, which is “Verify the Facts.”
When you are preparing for a negotiation it is always best to verify the facts. Verifying what you have been presented is a way to ensure you have the truth about the information given to you.
Many times we take things at face value and later find out that what we thought to be true actually wasn’t true at all. Perhaps we have some information that is factual and we make a decision about those facts without looking further to uncover the rest of the story. Maybe you made an agreement for a fee and when the charge came in it was much higher than what you agreed to or you got double charged for something on your business or credit card statement.
Whether it’s a multimillion-dollar deal or simply some information you’ve gathered from a friend, before you decide to take the data as factual, you may want to consider doing some further research to ensure that the data is accurate. If it’s a large contract and either the numbers are wrong or the proposal has an error, it could mean a large loss of funds or time. I once managed a contract where the bid was submitted missing a $300,000 cost. It was a fixed price bid so we had no oversight into the costs submitted. The bidder didn’t verify that all the facts were accurate before they submitted the bid and ended up losing the funds to cover that portion of the work. They realized it after the fact and brought it to my attention over 2 years into the contract. At that point we were unable to do anything to approve that cost due to the amount of time that had passed. Verifying the facts before they submitted the bid would have caught that error before the bid was submitted.
What about in our personal lives? Often times we get some information and go on those facts without further verification. It can be something that may cause unneeded stress in our lives. I know of someone who was told his wife was cheating on him with another man. They told him who the man was and he went straight to the man and beat him up for being with his wife. He didn’t verify the facts first and later found out that it was not true. Had he taken the time to verify the facts before he acted, that unnecessary assault would have been avoided.
You might have made a payment with your business card for a hotel room. It’s important to verify the charges on your bill to ensure they are accurate. Someone I knew recently went to a hotel for an event. She was going to originally stay 3 nights and changed the reservation to only one night due to some work she had to take care of before going to the event. When she got her bill there was a one night “no show” charge plus the charge for the one night stay. She had to call the hotel to have the charge credited. She caught it by verifying the facts on her billing statement.
In whatever area of your life, business, employment, personal, be sure to take the time to verify the facts. It will save you in the long run.