Only four days until Christmas and I’m just finishing up my shopping. I like to buy experiences, rather than material items, for people so negotiation is always part of my Christmas shopping strategy. Smart people, not Scrooges, negotiate at Christmas and every other time of the year.
Everything is negotiable.
Booking a vacation to the Bahamas? Negotiate. Hiring an empire builder? Negotiate. Hosting a training event? Negotiate. Building a new house or purchasing a new car? Negotiate. Asking for a raise or flexible work schedule? Negotiate.
- Ask. It’s really that simple. It never hurts to ask for an upgrade at a hotel or for a discount on goods or services. Perhaps you could get valet parking fee waived, get free shipping on a large purchase, have the bar service included for free at an event, or extend a payment plan by six months. Every successful negotiation not only saves money, but builds confidence so you will continue to build the habit of asking.
- Put your ego aside. One of the main reasons people don’t ask in the first place, is because they are embarrassed that they will seem cheap. Believe me, it’s exactly the opposite. The most financially sound and savvy individuals are the ones who understand the concept of saving money where they can and negotiating for better deals and terms. Get over yourself and get negotiating.
- Know what you want going in. You will be a much stronger negotiator if you start with the end in mind. Know what your ideal scenario is for the deal or discount; and know what your hard line is. You may want to only pay $30,000 on a new car, but be willing to go up to $35,000. Have a clear understanding of what you want and hold firm. There is likely someone else who can offer the same product or service who is willing to negotiate.
- Find out what the other party needs. Sometimes, you have something you could offer in exchange to make the deal happen. If you want discounted pricing on a new software, you could give reviews or testimonials about the product. Even a small concession on your part could work in your favor for bigger discounts or better terms.
One thing that is not negotiable – how you make people feel. Do not be a bully and keep it professional. The best negotiations end with both parties feeling like it was a win-win. You can be a tough, yet professional, negotiator. End the conversation and negotiation (no matter how down and dirty it gets) on a positive note. Assume that you will be back to negotiate another day or may need a favor in the future. People will not always remember what you say, or what you do, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Now, on to my toughest negotiation of the day. Bedtime for the little ones.