Fight for What You Want Your Entire Life

NegotiationI was sitting down with an advisor to a multi-billion dollar company one day after I reached out to him after meeting him casually in an event. I reached out because I wanted his advice on a recent job offer I received because while the salary was great for an entry level position, it wasn’t great for living in LA, California. The company might have been still worth it though so I wanted to ask him some of the factors he would advise me to consider before accepting or rejecting the offer.

He gave me a lot of great advice, one of which was to consider how great I thought management of the company was because I would be dependent on management’s performance when it comes to the future of the business. Then he advised me to negotiate my salary but I shot back saying that I didn’t want to seem like I’m only in it for the money. Then he immediately responded with “You’re going to fight for everything your entire life” and that was when I started to realize the importance of negotiating, especially in the business world.

Negotiation is everywhere

I have heard the phrase that EVERYTHING is negotiable. During the brief few times I tried to negotiate, I got replies of “I don’t have the authority to do that” or “no.” I was beginning to think that was a false statement. However, I made the mistake of trying to negotiate with the wrong PERSON. Everything is negotiable if you can find the right person to negotiate with.

I feared to negotiate. I was so scared of looking pushy, aggressive, demanding, or like a money grubbing kid for asking what I want but now, I don’t feel that way anymore. If you read my recent negotiation process with Sprint that saved me $75, even though it didn’t go perfectly, it went better than if I had sat in the sidelines doing nothing.

Doing nothing would have been the approach I would have taken in my younger days but now I’ve changed my mindset. It’s surprising how a simple change in the way I think can have such a large impact on how I act.

Things I learned while Negotiating

1. Don’t be Passive Aggressive

As I’ve said above, I would have given up quite easily before and took the easy way out by paying the $150 in the past. Nowadays, I’m trying to be more assertive and tell people what’s really bothering me to fix the problem and get what’s fair.

I started changing my mindset and realized that being seen a pushy, aggressive, or demanding is irrelevant and even a wrong assumption. If I am being seen that way, why am I not seeing the other person as those things? Because I’m not seeing the other person as those things, I assumed that they must not see me in that light and I realized that my fears are irrational.

This change in the way of thinking helped me not be afraid to negotiate and just ask. In line for Chipotle and you want extra rice? Ask. A simple “can I have more rice?” will get you what you want. Have a job offer and don’t like some of the compensation package? Ask. A simple “is this the best that you can offer?” can do wonders in starting the negotiation process. I began to accept that it’s irrational to be afraid to be judged and I am trying to be more vocal about my wants.

2. Know your position.

Know your position. When I brought up my concerns with Sprint, they were worried about false advertising. False advertising can have a lot of legal claims to which they could be liable for and while it says on their website that I am not eligible for a rebate, they could be seen as a liar who only wanted a sale because what I heard in person was different.

I knew that Sprint didn’t want the headache of being accused of that, so I knew I would at least partially get something.

I left this on the table

3. Be Ready to Negotiate Further, Expect an Offer to be on the Table

When I got the offer from Sprint’s manager that they would offer me $75 as a statement credit, it was their first offer. First offers usually means that there’s money on the table left to take. I could have replied with “well, since it’s only a statement credit and not cash, could you give me $25 more?” or something along those lines.

Maybe I would have gotten a no, maybe I would have gotten a yes. Will I ever find out? Absolutely not. Do I regret that I didn’t ask? Absolutely. The call was so sudden and I didn’t expect an offer to be made so quickly that I didn’t know what else to say except “yes”. I lost this battle, but the lesson I learned will carry me on forward in the next round.

4. Find the right person to negotiate with

Recently, I made a trip down to a local sports retailer to buy a football. I had a $50 budget. When I went to the store to buy, the owner of the store said the football cost $50. Then I promptly asked “$50 plus tax or $50 even?”. He replied “$50 plus tax.” I hesitated a little bit before reluctantly saying “ok.”

Before he went to the back to pump air in, he told the cashier to only charge me $50 even and not $50 plus tax. It was a simple question asked to the right person which got me a price reduction. I got lucky, because I didn’t push for $50, but the manager was aware of what I wanted because I asked.

The manager isn’t always the right person to talk to, for example, if you’re in line for Chipotle, it’s not a good idea to call the manager to ask for more rice, instead of asking the worker there. The important thing is finding the right person to talk to, otherwise you will be wasting your time.

Yes, this is negotiable too

Ask for What You Want

If you’re in the working world, chances are, you’re going to have to be dealing with people and you WILL negotiate with them. It could be something small like what time you and your coworkers are meeting for dinner, or it could be something big like a promotion you’re trying to negotiate.

No one is EVER going to give it to you, you have to ask for it and say or indicate what you want. Do it consistently over the long term and who knows what kind of compensation or savings you can receive?!

Readers, what are your negotiation stories? Do you have memorable ones that saved you or made you extra money? Let me know in the comments below!

Finance Solver

I grew my net worth to $40,000 as a college student through hard work, discipline, and a little bit of luck. I graduated college in 2016 and will be starting to plan for my retirement once I start working.I am planning on reaching financial independence by my early 30's and I will document my moments of inspiration all the way to desperation here.

My goal is to enable your success in personal finance so that you can realize the American dream. The first step is starting today!

Read more about me here.

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8 thoughts on “Fight for What You Want Your Entire Life

  1. That was some good advice he gave you, but I do think there is a fine line and you don’t want to come across as pushy. I think what helps the most in negotiating is getting a good BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). It’s basically your fall back option and it gives you leverage in negotiating. If you have a good back up you’ll have good success negotiating anything. Thanks for the post!

    • Ah I should have been clear in that I was so worried about looking as pushy or aggressive that I wouldn’t even start negotiating, even if I wasn’t too sure of the offer. I would definitely not want to come across as pushy but that shouldn’t prohibit me from starting the negotiation process.

      I agree, looking at alternatives can definitely work to your advantage. It’s so important to do the research to find out points of leverage looking at alternatives. Thanks for the comment!

  2. +1 to not being pushy, at least not all the time

    Works sometimes, others requires a lighter touch, gotta read the room so to speak. Some of the best deals and salaries I’ve negotiated were done light and friendly.

    • I agree, being pushy is bad. Pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered, as they say. Asking an innocuous question to start the negotiation process and feel the room out I think can be a great tool to use.

  3. I liked this piece, nice job. It can be socially awkward to negotiate for different things, but we have to sometimes – to get what we need/want. We must always put ourselves first when in a competitive world, no-one else will (but do it in a nice way).


    • Thank you! It was really hard for me to learn the important of it because I was even terrified to ask my parents for a new gameboy SP (I was in the 5th grade and I never asked for anything else related to games my entire life until then). And even when I did, I was still terrified. I’m slowly getting more comfortable talking about what I want in a nice way, making sure that I don’t cross the line that divides between politeness and aggressiveness. The fine line I think is assertiveness.

    • Finance Solver says:

      Yes, I’ve been slowly learning that more and more. Dealing with people and having people skills can be the differentiator between a successful person and a mediocre person, taking steps to learn is the essential step!

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