Many people are afraid of negotiation; they are afraid of being rejected, or of losing out on an opportunity, but not negotiating is costing you money.
Just today I was in a men’s store looking at suits. The guy helping me pulled out one suit but told me that it wasn’t part of the stores buy one get one deal. I tossed him a sceptical look and he immediately changed his mind. “I could do the deal on that suit” he said. Of course you could. I didn’t even have to ask, I just gave him a look. If I wanted those suits that look would have saved me $200 dollars.
Of course, there are many places where negotiation will get you nowhere. Don’t bother talking to the teenager behind the counter at McDonald’s about free fries with that burger; they don’t have the power or the interest to cut you a deal. But you should try it everywhere else, you never know where it may get you. After all, when faced with the choice between a smaller profit no profit most will choose a small profit.
This brings me to my $21,000 question. When I was looking to move from my last job to my current one I had just read an MBA document on how to negotiate with your new job and I was determined to try it. I was not an MBA and didn’t feel that I was in a position to negotiate but what did I have to lose?
When I was given the offer it was A LOT more than I was making at the time. I had every reason to scream “yes” immediately, but was still determined to take the chance. I informed them that I was looking at a $3000 bonus from my current job (which was true) and if I left the company now, I would be walking away from that opportunity. “Could you compensate for that with a signing bonus?” was the $21,000 question, I had read it in the MBA document. No one does signing bonuses at my level, it was crazy. The response? “We can add that to your salary offer, so you would get it every year, if that would work for you.” I have been at my current job for 7 years which means that one question has earned me an extra $21,000 over the course of my career. Remember the only time you really have control over your salary is when you take the job, after that you have very little direct control.
Maybe you don’t have that opportunity but there are a lot of places where you can try to negotiate:
Where have you negotiated successfully? Tell me about it in the comments.
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