“Bartering has been around since the dawn of human existence,” says Michael Dalton Johnson. “It’s a smart and easy way to get what you need by trading something you have. Bartering is especially smart in today’s economy.”

Maybe they don’t teach bartering at business school, but it is part of the curriculum at the school of hard knocks. And Johnson is proud of his alma mater.

“Who would you rather be lost in the woods with, Albert Einstein or Davey Crockett?” asks Johnson, author of the recent McGraw-Hill business book “Rules of the Hunt.”

Johnson’s point is street smarts are often preferable to book smarts. His book is in the tradition of real-world, street saavy works like “Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive,” by Harvey MacKay, and “What They Don’t Teach You in Harvard Business School,” by the late Mark McCormack.

At the age of 15, Johnson dropped out of high school to take a full-time job. He joined the Army at age 17. After his service in the military, he worked as a ranch hand, factory worker, and construction laborer before venturing into the business world. He has never taken a business course and brings an unpretentious outsider’s view to the subject of business.

“Rules of the Hunt” has much to say about deal-making subjects, including negotiating and motivating people. One of the subjects he covers is bartering, an often overlooked topic.

According to Barter News Weekly, almost one-third of all small businesses in the U.S. and 65 percent of corporations listed on the NYSE are involved in some form of bartering.  The U.S. Department of Commerce says barter accounts for approximately 25 percent of the world’s total business.

“In fact, the growth of bartering has surged recently because it puts idle resources to work,” adds Johnson.  “Not only does bartering conserve cash, it allows you to expand your business beyond your cash paying customers. You’ll find lots of willing trading partners out there ready to make a deal.”

The Rules of the Deal Hunt

In keeping with its subtitle “Real World Advice for Entrepreneurial and Business Success,” Johnson’s book (http://www.rulesofthehunt.com/ ) departs from conventional business books in voice, content and format. The book contains an abundance of tips. Here is a quick sample.

  1. No deal is infinitely better than a bad deal. “Don’t get so caught up in the rush to close a deal that you make an unprofitable one. Always know your bottom line, and never go below it.”
  2. Ask and you shall receive. “I once consulted for a firm, and at the end of my engagement, the owner told me that the most valuable thing he learned from me was that everything is negotiable. I always ask for a discount. I estimate that seven out of ten times I get one. I will ask, ‘What discounts are you offering?’ to introduce the subject to the conversation.”
  3. Cash works too. “When you have completed negotiations with a vendor and he or she has quoted figures, instead of asking, ‘What’s your discount for early payment?’ ask, ‘What’s your cash price?’ The word cash resonates with buyers because it describes something they’re getting while a discount is something they’re giving.”
  4. Negotiating is an inside job. “Large organizations usually have a complicated, layered, management hierarchy. You may find it difficult to finalize a negotiation in a reasonable time frame unless you have inside help. This means establishing a connection with a key negotiator within the organization. Once this person is sold on the value of what you are offering, he or she will become your champion. Managers in large corporations look to advance their careers by completing profitable deals. When you have an insider, he or she will help you speed up the decision-making process better than you could do from the outside looking in.”

Today Johnson is an award-winning publisher and successful entrepreneur with over 30 years of business leadership. He is the founder of www.salesdog.com, an educational website for sales professionals. He is also the founder of several successful businesses and the editor and publisher of bestselling “Top Dog Sales Secrets.”

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