Is Successfully Negotiating and Closing a Deal is Similar to Serving an Exquisite 5 Course Dinner?

On his website, Mitch Jackson treats us with an analogy in the form of a five course dinner.  He shows how successfully negotiating and closing a deal is very similar to selecting and timing the courses of an important dinner party.

Mitch gets his point across with vivid imagery that will have your mouth watering and your stomach growling and maybe even the itch to go close that deal that has eluded you for months. Click here to read the full article.


Closing a deal is a very similar experience. Go about things the right way and the negotiation will flow naturally and the deal will be one to remember. Skip a course or two and the other person just might get up and leave the communication table before the evening is over.

Start with the setting

You don’t serve a 5 course dinner on the lids of garbage cans in an alley behind the restaurant. Along those same lines, don’t try to negotiate an important deal over day old coffee in the parking lot of Wal-Mart while wearing a stained t-shirt.

Make sure that you’ve thought things through and have properly set your communication table—the place you’ll be serving your verbal meal– in a suitable fashion and location. Have your ducks in a row and remember to place your napkin in your lap, serve from the left, and clear from the right. Do what needs to be done to help ensure your surroundings are conducive to a meaningful discussion and presentation.

Now for the first course…

Start with something memorable. Tonight, we’ll be starting with essence of butternut squash, presented with a seared sea scallop, chive oil and young seedlings. Is your mouth starting to water? Mine is!

After a bit of small talk and building rapport, get immediate focus and attention by raising the problem or issue during the first course. 

Tip- Talk about the problem.

The second course

For your second course, we’ll be serving pan seared lump crab cake, presented with fire roasted corn and cilantro relish smoked chipotle aioli and butter poached leeks. While you enjoy this course and start to get in the mood for the main entre, spend some quality time talking in more detail about it the problem or issue. Discuss what bad things will happen if changes are not made. What are the short and long-term consequences of action or inaction? What will happen if things don’t get resolved and continue to drag on day after day and even year after year?

Tip- Discuss the short and long-term impact of the problem.

The third course

What better than to follow the crab cakes with a dish of roasted beet carpaccio, presented with seared goat cheese, beet syrup, aged balsamic reduction and mache greens. Do this correctly and your guest is already interested in what the next course will be.

You’ve got his attention. He knows why he’s sitting at the table and understands that action is needed or things will just get worse. Now is the time to show your guest how your idea will solve his problems. Working your way from the outside in, your utensils should include specific examples, metaphors and stories.

Tip- For the first time, reveal your specific solution to the specific problem of your guest.

The fourth course

Now that you’ve shared your solutions in the third course, knock your guest right off his chair with a fourth course consisting of something a bit more substantial. Let’s go with grilled fillet of beef, presented with caramelized shallot/red wine reduction, crisp truffle scented potato rosti, white asparagus and morel mushrooms. It might also be time to order another bottle of wine.

This course is all about substance and value. Show the other person exactly how your suggested solution will benefit him. Understanding that facts tell but stories sell, use the right utensils (words, pictures, testimonials, videos…) to continue showing your dinner guest how your product, service or idea will benefit and help him. Communicating and share major value and specific benefits, through stories and examples, are what the fourth course is all about.

Tip- Communicate the major benefits of your solution to your dinner guest.

The fifth and most important course

Click here to find out what is served for dessert!