“Our tech guys took a look at the deal and they don’t think it’s good enough value for money. You’ll have to drop the price a bit for us to consider it.”
What kind of reaction do you think the above sentences would receive? An immediate apology and drop in price, or confusion and defensiveness? In our experience, it is difficult enough to challenge anybody’s beliefs while maintaining a positive relationship… let alone making it more difficult by challenging them using only somebody else’s authority to back you up.
If you want to be the best negotiator possible, you should have at least a basic understanding of the concepts and language being used for each component of the deal you are currently working on. You might never be a field-leading expert, but you should be able to coherently discuss any of the factors of the field without risk of being perceived as too lazy to do your research, or simply too incompetent to understand it.
You might very well have ‘tech guys’ who understand the specifications of the servers you are buying much better than you, but this is no excuse for failing to have them explain to you that the servers simply won’t have enough storage space, or uptime reliability, or whatever trait they may be taking objection to within the example above. Simply passing the buck to them may absolve you of the responsibility of presenting the argument yourself, but it also shows that you have dodged the responsibility of learning enough about the deal you are trying to take charge of.
Even if you do want to play “good cop, bad cop” and pass off authority, there is still never any harm in knowing the concepts yourself, and will certainly give you opportunities to engage with objections or arguments if you feel this will be advantageous in the moment. Having too much knowledge will rarely get you in trouble, and it strengthens so many other core competencies within your negotiating toolbox that it is borderline inexcusable to not know exactly what you are talking about.