I apologize up front to anyone whose name is actually Karen. I actually know a Karen and she’s the most humble, beautiful person I know. But, to get my point across I’ll use the language people know.
Let’s start with changing our language. Don’t be an asshole whether your name is Karen or not.
Negotiation isn’t about who can be the loudest or nastiest. It’s about knowing what you want, what you need, and how much value it is to you. It’s also knowing what your budget is (budget refers to any kind of payment; money, time, energy etc).
When you sit down to negotiate you need to know those key elements otherwise it’s easy to get pulled to what the other person thinks you want or need.
Next: choose your battles.
Not everything has to be picked apart or fought on. Wasting time and energy battling the smallest details does a few things in my small play book.
A. It tells me you’re insecure and fearful. You are too hung up with the fear you’ll get taken advantage of, it’s almost easier to actually take advantage of you.
B. You might not be really sure of what you want.
Another thing to bring to negation is patience. Don’t go to the bargaining table with a looming appointment in the background. Set ample time, then add another hour. People who have someplace to go or something to do tend to let their mind wander to those tasks and sometimes they get frustrated easy.
Ever heard someone say, “I can sit here all day”?
If you say that, mean it. If I say it, know I have a water bottle and a protein bar in my purse.
Before negotiation begins, argue with yourself. Ask the reasons you don’t want to do X,Y or Z… know those reasons and why they are important.
Example: I have a budget of $300
Will I go up $10? Why or why not?
When I give my budget for any negation I undercut it. Why? Because you have to be flexible and understand there may be details you haven’t accounted for.
If I agree to pay $300 for this amazing product, I may not have known that for just $50 more I also get warranty, extra pieces, lifetime cool thing. Now, with those things presented I get to negotiate this into my desk and not walk away feeling I’ve left anything on the table. I also haven’t stretched myself beyond a budget I can afford.
Here’s another example:
Your boss asks you to complete a project last minute. You’ve got 1 hour until you’re off work. At this time, OT pay must be approved. The expectation presented to you is to complete the project before you go home.
This can go bad, fast.
A way to negotiate may look something like this, “I’d love to finish that project, however if you want it done by 5 o’ clock it won’t be my usual quality. Can I pull another team member in to assist?”
This makes the options clear to your boss.
They can allow you to form a team and get the project done by end of day, or they can accept half ass.
Let’s say the boss pushes back and thinks you can get it done “good enough” by end of day by yourself.
“I’m not comfortable rushing the project, it sounds important. I’m willing to stay 30 min longer to ensure it’s done correctly and to my standard if you’ll approve the OT.”
The ball goes back to your boss and you’ve maintained control of what’s important to you.
You’ve given fair and realistic options to your boss and now they must decide what’s important to them and how they can achieve it.
You can switch things around too fulfill your own needs in this situation but in order to do that, you need to stay calm and not let their last minute urgency panic you.
If you wanted you could simply tell your boss it’s impossible for you to finish by end of day alone and you need 2 more people to help you if you don’t want OT.
Or, ask outright for 1-2 hours of OT to complete the job.
Regardless of the situation, staying calm and knowing what it is you want to achieve is the important part.
When purchasing bigger price tag items, especially when presented with financing, focus on real issue. Is the monthly payment most important? The finance charge? The length of payments? Or the total cost of the product?
List these in order of importance and decide where you stand and how much room you have to move. Now, when you go to the table you don’t waste your time out theirs.
You don’t have to, nor should you reveal all these decisions right away but you do have to give the other person an idea of what you want so they can assist you in the shortest time possible. No one wants to spend all day on one sale. The more sales they can achieve, the better. The pressure is on the sales person to find what fits your criteria.
Conversely, the salesperson is doing a job and putting their time and effort in. They should be compensated fairly. Stop expecting them not to make commission. They most likely are relying on that to make their living. No one wants to work 6 hours and make 50$ so you can have the smallest detail worked into your deal.
Choosing your battles conserves your time and the other person will more likely want to continue the deal. Being stubborn, yelling, insulting, bitching about everything, or turning every phase into a battle will wear down anyone’s willingness to be helpful.
Also? It’s just rude. Quit being an entitled asshole if this is you. Allow the dance to be a dance and stop stepping on your partners feet like a drunk, 3 legged elephant.
And finally, know when the deal just won’t work and when to walk away.
Don’t beat a dead horse. If it can’t/won’t be done, shake hands and call it done.
What are some of your favorite negotiating tips?