04
Mar

Negotiating 101

Posted by Danny

I don’t consider myself to be a great salesperson. There are some things I do well in the sales world, and some I do not. But one of the things I do very well is negotiate.

Over the years I have literally negotiated hundreds of things. Big purchases like houses, cars, and mortgage rates, and little things like cable bills and satellite radio fees. On the business side of things, I’ve negotiated salaries (my own as well as other people’s) and pricing for our services (quite often in fact). And I’ve negotiated a ton of great deals for clients. I’ve been around the block and I’ve gotten pretty darn good at it. I get asked by friends and family quite often how I do it, so I thought I’d dedicate this month’s blog post to spelling it out.

With that said, here are my rules for negotiating…

Rule 1: It never hurts to ask…

You’d be surprised how often people don’t negotiate simply because they’ve afraid to ask for something. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone says “no” to your request. Big deal. My wife and kids tell me “no” 100 times a day. Get over it and ask already.

Rule 2: Leave your entitlement at the door…

While it never hurts to ask, you aren’t entitled to a discount on something just because you want it. People get petulant when they don’t get what they want. Stop doing that. It’s nothing personal.

Rule 3: Everyone has to get something out of it…

I’ve seen this problem manifest itself at plenty of car dealerships. A person wants to buy a car, but expects the dealership to lose money on the purchase (and then gets pissed when they refuse to do so). In order for a compromise to be reached, everyone has to win, and everyone has to lose. By that I mean that all parties must get something and give something up in return. Do your research ahead of time so that you know what you want, and what is fair. Keep that in mind when you’re negotiating a deal.

Rule 4: Be prepared to walk away…

If you aren’t willing to walk away from a deal, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll get the best bang for your buck. Whether that’s a house, a car, or a new job, have in mind what you want at a minimum, and if you can’t get it, then be prepared to walk.

Rule 5: Be nice…

Patrick Swayze’s advice in the movie Roadhouse was good. “Be nice”. The best negotiations are not adversarial. You don’t have to be someone’s best friend, but being arrogant, miserable and rude to someone is hardly the best way to reach a compromise. Be firm but polite. Again, don’t take it personally.

Negotiating, whether for personal or business reasons, isn’t all that hard. You have to be willing to ask for what you want. Be polite but firm. Do your research ahead of time and try to find a common ground that leaves both sides walking away feeling good about the deal. Do that, and you’ll get what you want more often than not.

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