That Can Cost You Thousands
By Michael Soon Lee
in negotiating is a lot like becoming proficient in martial arts.
You must learn to use of timing, power and leverage to your
advantage. In bargaining contests, Americans tend not to do very
well when compared to people in other countries around the world.
There are some real black belts out there and here are some common
mistakes that often keep us from getting the best deals:
Mistake #1: Being Afraid To Bargain: Some of us are a bit timid
when it comes to haggling because we’re afraid to be rejected. In
reality, there is no rejection in negotiating. If you ask for a
discount on your laundry from a dry cleaner that you patronize on a
regular basis and the owner says, “no” what have you lost? Nothing!
Now you have the choice of continuing to pay full price or take your
business elsewhere. It’s totally in your control.
Mistake #2: Believing It’s Not Worth Haggling Over Small Items:
Many Americans only think about negotiating when it comes to
big-ticket purchases like cars and houses. The real savings come
when you get discounts on things you buy more frequently. For
example, if you and your spouse eat out at nice restaurants once a
week costing ninety dollars and you negotiate a thirty percent
discount that saves over $1,500 a year. I generally only pay half
price for meals saving even more.
Mistake #3: Forgetting That Everything Is Negotiable: Anything
is negotiable under the right circumstances. I have gotten discounts
on gasoline for my car, substantially reduced peoples’ IRS tax bills
and even obtained deals on medical care. You would be surprised to
find what others will do to earn your business as long as you keep
in mind that there must be a benefit to them of accepting your
Mistake #4: Thinking About Ourselves First: Many people only
consider what they’ll get out of a negotiation. Black Belt
bargainers are always thinking about what’s in it for the other
person to accept a deal, not what’s in it for themselves. They know
that if there isn’t a clear benefit to the other party they will
never seriously consider an offer. Finding ways to help people solve
their problems will make it easier for them to give you what you
want. Most businesses make their money on repeat business because
this eliminates their marketing costs. If you are a regular customer
you deserve a discount for saving them money.
Mistake #5: Making The First Offer: Try not to make the first
offer anytime you bargain because it limits your options. Even if
the price is clearly marked, you can always ask, “Would you take
less to sell this today?” If you are a buyer and you make the first
offer it sets the lower limit because now you can only raise your
price. If you are a seller and you name a price you can only go down
Mistake #6: Being Too Nice: If you must make the first offer,
make it low if you’re buying and high if you’re selling for the
reason stated above. It sets the lower or upper limit and reduces
your options. Being aggressive with your first offer leaves room for
negotiating. Don’t worry about being nice as the other party can
always say, “no.” You never want the other party to agree to your
first offer because that leads to the next mistake.
Mistake #7: Being Too Eager: A martial artist always starts a
contest by testing his opponent. Take your time when bargaining. In
America “time is money” but in other countries it is used for
building relationships. There is one word that a black belt
negotiator never wants to hear early in the bargaining process -
“okay.” This means that you paid too much or asked too low a price
because you got impatient. Take your time and don’t put yourself
under any undue time pressure.
Mistake #8: Not Doing Your Homework In Advance: Most martial
arts tournaments are won or lost before they ever begin and it’s the
same with negotiating. Just like a fighter would never step into the
ring without having spied on his opponent you should, too. If you’re
buying a car, search the web to find the dealer’s invoice, when the
new models will be coming in and if there are any bonuses or
cut-rate financing available to you. No matter what you are buying
or selling you can find out valuable information such as: what’s the
current demand, the profit margin, and other priceless data.
Mistake #9: Not Playing To Win: Everyone has heard that in
negotiating you want to develop “win-win” solutions but, in reality,
nobody believes tying. You don’t want your opponent to get the
better end of the bargain and neither do they. This is not to say
that you try to take advantage but you should always try to get the
best deal you can and assume that the other party will do likewise.
You don’t need to be concerned about fairness because if they agree
to your offer they must feel it benefits them as well.
Mistake #10: Missing Opportunities To Negotiate: Every time you
pull out your wallet to pay for a purchase you should ask yourself,
“Is this a chance to practice my bargaining skills?” This is not to
say that you absolutely must bargain on everything but every
transaction adds up and the more you bargain the better you become.
negotiating more often you not only put more money in your pocket
but also increase your negotiating skill. Black belts practice every
day and so should you.
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about Michael Soon Lee.
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