If you breathe, you negotiate. You have probably negotiated several to several thousand times this week. Every transaction, every agreement, is a negotiation. Take buying a cup of coffee, a surprisingly simple task, you have to negotiate. You choose the coffee shop you can go to and you choose based on many factors including taste, price, and look. If you do not like the coffee or find it too expensive you can always go to another coffee shop. If no coffee shop can provide you what you want, you could always try to make it yourself. Ultimately, options are the key in how to negotiate successfully.
If you want to negotiate successfully you need just one word: no, or any other version of the word. The word no closes one option, at least temporarily, and opens new ones. Without it, you would have no ability to negotiate at all.
I will explain some situations where I was able to negotiate and how I was able to negotiate successfully.
Use It To Find A Good Job
You can and should negotiate your salary. Without that, you could end up with a job that pays you terribly. How many people do you know who really said no to a job? Well, now you do, I refused a certain job that I could have had lined up before I graduated.
The job did not pay that well and I was not promised much stability. It was a pity the company is world renown. However, many would have taken the job. What separates me from others:
- I had some other income streams.
- I had adequate savings.
- Some other companies set up other interviews with me the week after.
Because of this, I felt comfortable to say no to the job offer. And eventually, I received another job offer from the firm I work with currently.
Unfortunately, many people do not have the first two so even if they have the last one they may not have the ability to turn down a similar offer.
Negotiate For A Car
A more recent event where I used negotiation to accomplish a large task was when I bought a car. One of the most expensive purchases you can ever make.
I visited 3 places (in-person online, probably hundreds). What did each of them ask me? “Do you need us to set you up with a rental before you officially buy the car?” I was taken aback by that question, but then I realized two things.
- They were probably trained to ask customers that.
- Many customers probably need to replace a car that is now…gone.
In other words, a car seller is expecting people to need a car, not simply be looking for a new car.
Among the best tools I had in that negotiation was my old car that still drives perfectly. If the car I was looking at was not to my liking, I could drive away showing the seller that I did not need their car.
I drove away from a seemingly good car at one dealership because they were planning to charge me $2,000 for their word that they made necessary repairs. I could not even take the car to a garage to check it to be sure they did the repairs they said.
Eventually, I found a good car which the seller allowed me to check. I did need to pay for repairs, but now I know they are done and I can hold the seller to that.
What These Negotiations Have In Common
In each of these major negotiations, I had the ability to walk away from an offer. The reason I could is that I was sound in finances and transportation. If I was not sound in either of these, I would have needed to make a deal just to get by and I may have regretted it.
One thing to remember is that what you can fall back on is entirely up to you. In negotiation, you do not need the best fallback, just one that fits your needs. When I say I had some income, I mean I was able to tutor for $10/hour, and it was not a full-time job. My wife was making more money. However, I was preparing to move and I only needed to pay a few months of rent I already agreed to because it was easy to manage. Many people will not live like that, if you cannot change or settle on how you live, you cannot negotiate.
I am an incredibly lucky person to have some fallbacks in these situations. Many, maybe even most people do not. So how do you develop fallbacks that allow you to negotiate successfully? Some people cannot set up a life where they require very little and they need some resources.
Even if you do not have the resources to fall back on, you have time you can use to negotiate. Two of the best skills you can have are tactical patience and using time as a resource. You need to know how to know when to take action and how to utilize time. Some opportunities can provide you with resources to help give you an edge.
Ultimately, the resources I had gave me a fallback and an edge in my negotiation.
Some may ask how they can negotiate successfully, but the answer is simple. If you cannot say no, you cannot negotiate. Some of the things you are trying to negotiate for can be things you need. You must master your needs. To do this, try to find alternatives to what you need. The more alternatives you have, the better.
However, many people are in sudden need of resources and they are not in much of a position to negotiate. If you cannot leverage more common resources including money, you can always try to leverage the resource everyone has at least some of, time. If you have time to wait, you can try to wait for a perfect opportunity to purchase resources at a lower cost. You could also leverage time to gain resources. Anything that can improve your standing can be used as leverage.
Negotiations are very difficult. Surprisingly, it is not because people do not know what to do for situations they do not like, but they do not feel like they have the capability to refuse. Everyone has the capability to refuse, but they may not like where they will end up if they refuse. The key to setting yourself up for success in negotiations is to set yourself up to refuse the deal. If you cannot do that, you cannot have a successful negotiation.