“Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us
never fear to negotiate.”
— John F.Kennedy, Inaugural Address, 1961.
Negotiating makes many people uncomfortable, so they avoid it or just don’t do it. By taking this stance, they only hurt themselves by letting others take advantage of them. By not negotiating, they don’t get what they want or deserve.
For example, 63% of Saturn automobile buyers are women. Studies show that in our western culture, women dislike (i.e. hate) negotiation and they will avoid it whenever possible. They hate it so much that they shop where negotiation is not possible or is unlikely, such as the Saturn car dealership. Saturn cars are good, but this attitude does limit your options.
Negotiation begins with you acknowledging that you deserve to get what you want and that it is OK to play the negotiation game. Our society set up these rules of engagement long ago: to get what you want you have to negotiate. This acceptance of the implied rules of the game of negotiation is where it starts. Negotiation is a game and we must play it to get what we want.
In its simplest form, you need to determine what is important to you and what you really want. This is called your “position”. An example of a position would be your desire to buy a car that pays costs no more than $20,000. Yet, this is not very specific since $20,000 will buy a 4×4 truck, an old Cadillac, or a new Honda Civic.
Behind your position are your “interests”, which are your motivations and desires. In the car example, your motivations might be to get a car that is more reliable or economical. Often your interests are the heart of the matter; they explain why you might choose one vehicle over another.
If the other party understands your interests it is easier for them to help you get what you want. In this case, your motivation for economy and reliability will favor the Honda Civic. Thus, to get what you want will require you to first figure out what you want. After that you need to let the other party know what is important.
It all begins with you.
John Bradley Jackson
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