How set up the impossible barter deal


Let me state the obvious first: It’s not actually possible to do the impossible. That’s what “impossible” means. That being said, over the years I’ve made some barter deals that were hard to put together. Deals that my friends and family said couldn’t be done. These are the deals that make people say “Wow.” I’m talking about bartering to pay employees, or bartering to put my kids in private school or any number of other unusual barter deals I’ve put together over the years.

Right now I’m working on one of the harder deals I’ve tried to put together: Bartering to rent high end commercial office space. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve got two different contacts that I’m negotiating with and I think I should be able to make it happen. I’m hoping that the trade will be “full service” and include power/heat/Internet/cleaning/etc.

There are two main components to putting together the impossible deal in my opinion:

  1. The deal HAS to be a win-win for both parties. As long as both parties gain, the deal is always doable. It only gets truly impossible when you get greedy and are only looking out for yourself. In the case of the office space deal I’m working on, I’m specifically looking for occupied space that is too big for the current tenant. The ideal partner for this would be a firm that did some downsizing and has had a bunch of empty space just sitting there for a year or more. Because all of their office expenses are sunk, if they were to allow my office to move into their space, they will get all the benefits of whatever I trade with them at almost zero cost.
  2. You have to be tenacious. When you are trying to do something unusual you have to expect that many people won’t understand the offer or will be frightened off by it. That means that you have to look at your deal like a salesman talking to prospects. When I do this I know that what I’m offering will be a really good deal to the right company and I know that that right company is out there. I tell myself that I will find the right deal if I talk to enough people. It’s simply a numbers game. If only 1% of my deals will close then I have to be ready to get 99 “nos” before I get one “yes.”

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