Negotiating What You Deserve

JoAnn Hines

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Negotiation is the art of following a process. The more often you practice negotiation, the better you get at it. It is essential to know when you must negotiate. It’s often very difficult to stand your ground and say no or respond that the option available is not acceptable. The first couple of times you find yourself saying no might be very stressful, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Let’s review a couple of scenarios.

1) You want a raise and your boss says there is no money. Should you put your tail between your legs and slink off to nurse your wounds while you are angry and upset? NO! The plan is to offer options and alternatives when the discussion begins. Think in terms of a wish list of the things you want. Then determine what you would settle for. Is it money you really want or are there other issues in play that you believe money will resolve?

The Reality: You want a raise badly. The fact is that you are probably not going to get it. Assumption: Just because the boss says no doesn't mean that there isn't flexibility to offer other considerations in lieu of money.

Game plan: Have alternatives prepared to request in lieu of the raise, i. e. , an extra day off, and reimbursement for something like furthering your education. Get the picture. It’s best to be ready to talk about a deal once your boss says no. Even after the NO is reinforced follow-up in writing with other alternatives to be discussed at a later date.

2) Your client says that your price is too high. In most cases this is SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). You are convinced your price is reasonable and fair, so be prepared to negotiate.

The Reality: You need the business. So what do you do? Lower your price rather than negotiate? This is a major mistake. Once you start this practice it’s difficult to stand firm with this client ever again.

Assumption: “If you refuse to negotiate price, you will lose the deal. " The truth is just the opposite. If you aren't prepared to defend your price, your customer will lose respect for you. Bigger mistake.

Game plan: Recap the reasons why your price is fair and justified. Make your client explain the reasons they think the price is high. Negotiating for the best price is part of their job. If they weren't good at it they wouldn't be there. Don't cave and immediately offer to reduce your price. Explore options and investigate if there are other things that can be offered in lieu reducing your price. Tell them you can't get an answer today but promise to get back with other options.

3) Your boss gives you another project you simply can't handle and finish on time.

The Reality: Everyone is overworked. Someone is going to have to do this project, hopefully not you.

The Assumption: Because you say no your boss will think less of you or have a negative perception of your performance.

The Game Plan: You say: “Our department is currently involved with three other projects. In order to finish this project on time, one of those projects will need a time extension or should be delegated to another department. Is there someone else who can handle this project or can one of our other projects be delegated to another team?” Or “That project will require my undivided attention. Which of the other items we are working on can I delegate to X. "

7 Tips To Help You Negotiate Like An Expert:

1) You are entitled to a reasonable and fair price or value. What is reasonable? Whatever you can convince your buyer/boss that you or your product/service is worth. The operative word is value. It is up to you to do the convincing.

2) Operate from a position of strength. Believe that what you are selling is worth the price! Are you confident that you are worth what you are being paid? If not, how can you convince someone else?

3) Don't be wishy-washy and apologetic. Stand your ground. Once you have established the value of your product/service, present your price/value with confidence. Don't waver in that conviction. As soon as someone questions your price you must be prepared to demonstrate your value.

4) Be willing to walk away and continue another day. You must be prepared to say: “Next!" or your customers will sense your uncertainty. In the case of your boss he/she needs to know that you are still aggressively looking for ways to resolve a compensation issue. That doesn't mean that you should issue an ultimatum, however, it is vital that you state your position firmly and convey that you are not giving up.

5) Make the buyer/boss work for concessions. If you appear too eager to negotiate your price or terms downward, the buyer will perceive you as worth less (or worthless). If you do lower your price, be sure to make your buyer earn the concession. Don't give in right away. Ask for concessions in return, such as additional business or faster payment.

6) End with everyone feeling happy. Whatever you do, remember that your objective is to create a satisfied customer or a loyal boss. Don't leave any situation unresolved with hard feelings.

7) Be a good listen and offer constructive comments rather than criticisms. Don't get angry or flustered if you don't get what you want. There is always another client or another day to negotiate.

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