Finances & Money

Pay Less But Get More: Fearlessly Negotiating Your Way to a Better Life

default_clever_dude_imageAdmit it.

It terrifies you. The thought of asking for a discount makes you nervous. What if the other person says “no?” What if you come off sounding like a cheapskate? But, actually getting a discount feels awesome. You wish you were brave enough to negotiate. You wish you had the “magic words” to get the job done.

Well, if you’ve always wanted to be a rockstar negotiator, here’s how to get the job done.

Get Over Your Fear

Most people don’t ask for a deal because they’re too afraid to. They’re afraid of rejection. We all have that fear. You have to get over it. Half the battle is working up the courage to just ask for what you want. We’ve been taught, from a young age, not to ask for what we want so it’s hard for us to do that when we get older.

You don’t have to use “ninja tactics” though. It could be as simple as asking for the price you want. In fact, this is the same strategy you might see on sites like lifehacker.com.

It’s so simple, people don’t use it. They think it’s too simple.

If someone is selling something for $10, you could try saying, “would you consider selling it for $7 instead?” If they say “no,” most people would give up. But, not you.

Your follow up question should be, “OK, that’s fine. How much would you sell it to me for?” Do you see what just happened there? You turned a rejection around and made it a positive. The assumption is that you do have a chance at getting a discount. Now, you’re asking the other person how much of a discount you’ll get.

The business may just tell you “sorry, no discounts,” at which point you have a decision to make. You can either buy at the advertised price or you can walk away. Walking away is sometimes an effective strategy. If you’re not emotionally committed to the product or service, then you’re showing the merchant you have options.

And, when you have options, you have a lot more control over the situation than if you don’t.

Make Sure You Understand What The Other Person Wants

There is something to be said for catering to the other person in the transaction. They don’t want to let go of something for less than a particular price. They set their price based on what they think it’s worth. But, often, these prices are negotiable. You just have to think about what he or she might want instead of money.

Figure out what the seller wants the money for, if you can. Let’s say you’re buying a guitar or a used bike. The seller might tell you that he needs the money to pay for something else. Usually, these types of people are the most motivated sellers.

If a person tells you that they just want to get rid of something, they’re not always going to be willing to negotiate, unless they view the item as “junk.”

Anyway, to get the best deal here, you might ask the person why they’re selling the item in question and then offer them something else to help them out in exchange for a discount. So, let’s say someone is selling his guitar because he needs a set of tools for some project he’s working on. You have some tools that you don’t really use, and at least some of them are tools he could use. So, you could offer to give him your tools, plus some money, in exchange for his guitar (which is what you really want).

Since the seller really doesn’t want the money (he really wants the tools), getting him closer to that goal means that there may be some leeway on the price of the guitar.

Form A Partnership

When you enter a negotiation with a “me vs him” attitude, you’re immediately positioning yourself as adversarial. Instead, imply a partnership. You want to help the seller get what they want. In exchange, he’s going to help you get what you want.

Let’s say you don’t have all of the money the seller wants, or you don’t want to spend what the seller is asking. One option is to act as a broker for the seller. For example, let’s say you are buying the same guitar as in the last example. Instead of trading your own tools and money for it, you might try to go out and find the tools for the seller and then offer a lower price. In this way, you’re more of a team than two people working against each other.

This is done all the time in the workplace where employees are negotiating for more pay. Your boss might ask you to justify why you deserve a raise. Show him or her your actual accomplishments, prove your value, and then show that you’re on the same team – that a raise actually makes rational sense since you’re objectively more valuable to the company. And, your skills will benefit the company and it will encourage you to keep pursuing more skills and education to do a better job.

Courtney Hilton is a Mom on a mission, to better her life and her kids life. Recently widowed, life has been difficult, but she has learnt that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Her inspiring articles can be found on personal finance, lifestyle and parenting blogs.

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