I 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.
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.
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!
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