We negotiate all the time in our day to day lives. We work to secure better prices and terms when we make big purchases, change positions or seek raises at work, or look at hiring on someone to do work for us.
While we can’t necessarily haggle our way to what we want in every situation, understanding how to negotiate will help us to make better deals with better outcomes when the time arises.
Understand the What You Want – and What the Other Side Wants
The first step in learning how to negotiate is to know precisely what you’re seeking from the deal. What is your ideal outcome? Are there any points you are completely unwilling to compromise on?
Take time to understand the position of the person, company, or sales team that’s on the other side of the transaction, too. Come prepared by learning about what they want, what they can sacrifice, and what points they might be flexible on. What are they expecting out of your deal? What would make them happy to walk away with, and what would be unacceptable?
Additionally, you need to understand the context of the situation. For example, it’s expected and acceptable to negotiate on the price if you’re trying to buy a car. It is neither expected nor appreciated if you walk into Best Buy and start haggling with the employees to see if they’ll knock down the price of a computer you’re interested in.
Consider What You Have to Offer
When you’re negotiating, the other party is unlikely to simply give you want you want because you said, “please.” Expect to demonstrate why your offer is worth considering.
It’s important to be extremely clear about how your deal is not only good for you, but good for everyone else involved too. When you’re negotiating for a better position at work or a raise, you need to be able to say exactly why the value you offer the company is worth the increased responsibilities or pay.
You should strive to show how you’re presenting a win-win scenario in every set of negotiations you enter. This might be a little harder to apply to a situation where you’re trying to buy something, but it can be done.
Think about buying a home. While a lower offer than the asking price might not sound like a great thing to the seller, you simply have to show them the other benefits your offer provides them outside of that single metric. After all, you’re allowing them to sell their home and be done with the hassle. Or maybe you’ll offer to pay closing costs if they accept your lower offer, which means they won’t have to pay as much cash out of pocket to sell their home and receive the funds from that sale.
Don’t Be Afraid to Play Your Trump Card
In almost any negotiation, you will have a trump card that might beat every argument the other party can throw at you: you can choose to simply walk away. You don’t have to make a purchase or accept a job offer. You can take your money or your skills to other individual, company, or seller who is more interested in working with you to negotiate a deal that makes sense for everyone involved.
Don’t be afraid to smile and say “no thanks,” to something that’s presented as a final offer if it’s truly unacceptable to you. You have other options available.
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Remember, you provide a valuable asset in one way or another. From being a talented, reliable employee or potential hire to providing a much-needed source of income for dealers and vendors, you have something to offer – which means you’re always in a position to negotiate your way to a better deal.