Dictionary.com defines a ‘wild card’ as :
a determining or important person or thing whose qualities are unknown, indeterminate, or unpredictable.
Your wild card is typically some factor you consider as critical to the success or failure of the negotiation at hand. It could be something you know about the person you’re dealing with or some information you know about the deal that you believe, if known to the other party, could change things significantly.
The important thing is that it’s not part of the equation now but it could be your fallback position.
Ultimately, you don’t want to start any negotiation process laying all your cards out on the table. You want to put your play forward but you also want to see how the other party plays the game. You want to consider the emotion he brings to it, the kind of style he employs in negotiating, whether he is amicable, defensive, changes his mind too often or is rigid.
Sometimes, you may not have a wild card and that’s ok. But usually, there’s one – it’s how it’s being defined.
Just as you must consider what your wild card is, you must think about your last line of defence. You need to decide on how far you are willing to go, how hard a game you will play and what you are willing to endure/do to get what you want.
Next : Tip #8 Stand in his shoes