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Good Question: How can we be a better negotiator?

Prices are going up everywhere: gas, food, homes
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We are asking about negotiating.

Right now, we are all feeling the effects of inflation.

Prices are going up everywhere: gas, food, homes.

According to a survey by Bankrate, 66 percent of people who have noticed prices going up to say it’s negatively affecting their finances.

So, it’s not a bad time to start brushing up on your negotiation skills.

If you’re looking to buy a car or boost your salary, a good negotiation could get you in line with inflation.

What’s the best way to do that?

Good question. On Your Side Tonight talked to Andres Lares, an expert in negotiating, from Shapiro Negotiations Institute.

He says there are five secrets to negotiating.

First is building rapport.

“Let me give you a very brief example,” Lares said. “Person A walks into a used car dealership and they want to buy a car, and they come in and say, ‘Listen, the most I’ll pay is $20,000. Take it or leave it.’

“Then let’s say that car’s price tag is 22,000. Well, the salesperson isn’t gonna really go to bat for them very much. Let me talk to my manager up, surprise, surprise, he or she said no.

“Well, now you spend 1015 minutes building rapport. You get to know the person a little bit. You start chatting about how you’re going to use the car, and they say, listen. I love this car, but the most that I can afford is $20,000. How can you help me get this done, help me do this?

“So now they’ll go to their manager. Now it really feels like you and the salesperson are on one team, almost against negotiating together against the sales manager.

“Now, will it work for sure?

“We don’t know, but even in that example where we really don’t think rapport is a big deal, you’re never going to see the person again. It helps there.”

And it’s not always about money.

Lares says negotiating means thinking outside of the box.

Look for other incentives or discounts.

“All too often we think negotiating is asking for a lower price, but the reality there’s actually both the side of asking for a lower price and also adding more value at the same price or both,” Lares said. “So really, incentives, maybe you know, can you get moved up at a hotel for example?

“Can you get moved up to a nicer room and have breakfast added rather than decreasing the rate. That’s an example of the hotel is probably not going to decrease the rate, but they are much more likely to throw in some value.”

That’s where language matters.

You need to ask the right questions to get what you want.

And knowing what to ask requires the third key: doing your research.

“The best negotiators are those that are best prepared, and so now we really have no excuse,” Lares said. “So, if you’re negotiating for your salary, you should be looking at salary.com and pay scale and every other website that provides salary information.

“If you’re buying a house, you should be on all the sort of realtor sites to get a sense of the comps.

“If you’re buying a car, you should be doing that, not. just with Blue Book, but all the other various sources.

“So the reality is, do your research and again it goes to two things.

“One is, you’re going to be a better negotiator, but the second so underrated you’ll be more confident and nothing convinces like conviction.”

And with that conviction - consider your actions and phrases.

That’s the fourth key. The right phrasing can help move the negotiation forward.

“Think of it as a spectrum,” Lares said. “If you have no other alternatives and you’re just hoping to be successful, you’re going to be very soft.

“You know, is it possible?

“But now think of the other side of the spectrum where if you, for example, don’t get a salary, you’re going to leave because you’ve got another offer from another company.

“Then I think you can be more direct now. Direct doesn’t mean aggressive. You don’t have to say it’s ‘take this or leave it.’ But I say, ‘This is very important to me. This is what I feel is fair as a result. How do we make this work?” It’s going to be much more aggressive, but still not, really be directable. You’re asking for, but still do it the right way, so think of that spectrum and that’ll be helpful.”

And finally – compromise.

“We say that word very delicately because compromise often means that both parties don’t fully get what they really want, so they get a little bit of what they want, so hopefully it’s more of a collaborative solution and the idea is it goes back to something you said prone,” Lares said. “If you ask some great questions, you find out what the other side cares about, then you’re able to address some of those while you address joint objectives so compromise is really about almost being empathetic and really understanding what’s important to the other side.”

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