Not many people realize it, but every interaction you have with another person is a negotiation in some way or another. The most common term used for negotiation is haggle, and there are many different opinions on a person who does haggle. The article on The Art of Manliness goes into great detail regarding haggling.
Firstly there are some opinions on haggling which are based on myths, which you need to dispel from your mind. For the benefits of this illustration, think of buying a second hand car.
Haggling is argumentative – Haggling only escalates into an argument if you make it escalate into an argument. If you see the car marked at £20,000 and you only have £15,000 you can negotiate the seller down to £14,000 giving yourself an extra £1,000 for licensing etc. but if the seller only goes down to £18,000 and you start fighting with him to drop the extra £4,000 you will escalate it into an argument. Good haggling builds respect between two individuals.
Haggling is for cheapskates – This is a myth! CEO’s of large corporations haggle over multi-million dollar deals on a daily basis. If you practice your haggling skills over the price of a pint of milk then you will be a cheapskate, but if you have an amount that you willing to spend on a purchase like the second hand car and you can find one marked for sale close to the maximum amount you willing to spend, there is nothing cheap about negotiating with the seller.
Haggling is inappropriate – This depends on what you choose to haggle over. If you haggle over the price of your groceries at the supermarket then you are being completely inappropriate, but a large purchase like the second hand car is not inappropriate to negotiate over.
Haggling is not worth it – If both parties involved in the negotiation win, then it is definitely worth it. In the case of the second hand car, the owner no longer has a use for the car and instead of giving it away he wants to use the money to repaint his house, so negotiating with him to an amount that you can afford means that he gets to paint his house and you get a set of wheels. You will walk away with a bargain buy for the car and the owner walks away with enough money to fulfill his goal of painting his house.
I don’t have an aggressive personality – An aggressive personality is not a good trait while haggling, rather be confident in your ability to judge a good deal and listen to the needs of the person you haggling with. The goal is to ensure that both parties are happy with the deal and feel they have won, not to outbid your opponent and become aggressive.
Keep your options open – It is no use walking into a negotiation without being prepared to negotiate. In the example of the second hand car, you have a total of £15,000 and you see the car for sale at £20,000 you want to keep an additional £1,000 for licensing, so you only willing to part with £14,000 but this does not mean that you cannot negotiate with the seller, who has only lowered his price to £16,000 that you pay him the £15,000 and he pays for the licensing of the car into your name. The goal of haggling is to obtain the item you are haggling for in a manner that is mutually beneficial to both parties involved, if you are narrow minded and not willing to truly negotiate a variety of options available to the same goal, then you will fail at the negotiation.
Never speak first – It is important that you do not jump too readily at the first offer put on the table, not only does this leave no room for negotiation, but it also leaves you with no idea as to what the seller actually wanted to achieve. Remember that when you want to sell something you will always try and get as much as possible, again in the example of the second hand car, the owner puts a for sale sign on with the price of £20,000, but he is prepared to go down to £15,000 as he doesn’t really believe that the car is worth more, but will try his luck anyway. In the same way if you want to sell something and you haven’t set a price yet, but you mention it to a friend of yours, do not just give a random price off the top of your head; rather ask them how much they think the item is worth.
It’s not just the money – Although for one party in the negotiation money is the object while for the other it is the item or service being offered, it is more about the need for the service and the manner in which the service is delivered. The owner of the second hand car wants to paint his house or pay off some debts, you want the car. You need to find out what the goal is of the person that is offering the item for sale or the service, and then negotiate around both needs instead of just the exchange of money. You could negotiate him down to £15,000 and the deal that you would paint his house so long as he supplies the paint and pays for your licensing. You know that paint doesn’t cost £15,000 but hiring help to paint could push the price up, so this way you both win.
Loss is wrong – In any business deal both parties need to win for it to be successful, this builds up the relationship and improves the chances of repeat business. Make sure that both parties are satisfied with the terms of the negotiation so that both parties feel like they are winning and the next time you want the same service you will go back to the people who helped you the first time, they will also be more than willing to do business with you again.
Know when to keep quiet – No one likes awkward silence, but don’t jump to close the silence to the detriment of yourself. If someone puts an offer on the table rather just make a sound like ‘Hmmm’ to indicate you have heard the offer and then be silent. The person making the offer will either make another offer or repeat their previous offer; you need to know when to make a counter offer and when to keep quiet. Do not let yourself be cornered into a position where you land up putting counter offers into place which are against you.
When you wanting something or someone to do something for you, be prepared to do something or give something in return. Whether it is negotiating with your parents to look after the children so you can spoil your partner to a quiet dinner for two or negotiating with the owner of the second hand car, being willing to give something in return for their property or services means that you can negotiate to a point where both parties are happy.