Use This Negotiating Principle The Next Time You Want Something
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
You want an upgrade. You want a raise. You want a lower price on the car you’re looking at.
There is one unchanging principle that can make all these disparate desires come true.
Dale Carnegie stated it over and over in “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” Legendary motivator Earl Nightingale emphasized it repeatedly in his syndicated radio shows.
And what is that principle? To get what you want, you must be able to give the other party something that he/she wants.
So learn to make your requests in terms of the other person’s interests, not just your own.
Here’s an example.
Recently I booked a rental car to spend some time at one my favorite places in the world, Saratoga Springs, New York. I had booked a compact-size car but was hoping for a complimentary upgrade to a standard-size or even a full-size-or premium-size car.
But I had to remember that what I wanted was not what was most important. And I also had to know that I would not have much time to negotiate. Just a few words and a few moments would be all that I would get.
Frankly I didn’t have a lot to bargain with. Here’s what I had: I was a frequent user of their brand and I was renting the car for a full week, not just for one day. I also could use humor and charm, which sometimes works.
So here’s what I said: “I’m going to be in your car for a whole week. Do you have something really nice that you could give a frequent customer?” Then I gave a big smile and added, ”who’s also a very nice person.”
It worked. The counter person smiled and replied, “Let me see what I have…” and then she gave me the keys to a beautiful Buick, a premium-size car.
A word of caution. It won’t always work. And no use of charm, humor, or a recitation of benefits will get you anything.
You will encounter people who go strictly by the book. If you booked a compact car, you get a compact car. If you booked a standard-size room, don’t expect an upgrade to the concierge-level unless you pay extra for it.
But it is almost always worth a try. Life is, after all, probabilities. And your probabilities of success at negotiating increase whenever you give the other person a good reason to do something nice for you.
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