Negotiation Do’s & Don’ts

How to Negotiate Better for Anything

Negotiating is a valuable skill that affects nearly every part of our lives. You may not realize it, but you use your negotiation skills all the time—when you’re buying a new car, asking for more favorable terms on a loan, or deciding how to divide household chores. Children learn how to negotiate at an early age, and will beg for a larger allowance, to stay up later, or for an extra cookie. At its core, negotiating involves asking for what you need and want from an exchange, and clarifying what benefits you. Knowing an item’s value and worth, and keeping an eye out for exceptional values, can enhance your life greatly.

Negotiating Dos and Don’ts

Some people feel intimidated at the prospect of so much wheeling and dealing, but negotiating can feel like a fun game, once you know how. Not sure where to begin? Check out our helpful tips in the infographic, “How to Negotiate Better for Anything.” Start by doing research. That’s when you’ll learn the best time to buy or sell a particular item. Then figure out your bottom line so you don’t operate at a loss. Don’t let yourself be rushed or intimidated into taking a deal you don’t want. Remember that timing counts. Knowing when to talk—and when to walk—is critical. And no matter what your skill level, give yourself plenty of opportunity to practice and improve your negotiating skills. Remember, the goal of negotiating is to try and get as many of the services and goods you want. As you can see, there are a number of different ways you can approach and accomplish this.

What kind of negotiator are you?

Everyone has a unique negotiating style. To figure out yours, pay attention to how you interact with others. Do you drive a hard bargain? Are you open to compromises? Does the thought of conflict scare you? Do you engage in friendly small talk? Do you feel more confident if you bring along a friend? Maybe you’re good at bargaining down the price of an appliance, but not so great at asking for a raise. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you develop a winning style that suits you best.

Can you afford not to bargain?

It never hurts to ask for more (if you’re selling), or offer less (if you’re buying). And getting the best deal means that you can use the money you’ve saved for another project or purpose. For example, you could put any extra earnings or savings into your child’s college fund, or to pay for a much-needed renovation. And don’t underestimate the power of small details. Every cent adds up. Getting the best interest rate on a mortgage could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Not negotiating a starting salary could cost you much more than the initial $1,000 or $2,500 or $5,000 difference, when you factor in annual increases and bonuses over the course of your career.