Successful negotiations don’t just happen. Negotiations take skill, knowledge, and preparation. They also require a mindful awareness of yourself and how you engage with others. Investopedia defines negotiation as: a strategic discussion that resolves an issue in a way that both parties find acceptable. When you leave a negotiation there should be a win/win feeling. Both parties should find the terms of the agreement reached fair. If you leave feeling defeated, unheard, unsettled, or disregarded, the chances are it was not a true negotiation. One party definitely had the upper hand and that party was not you.
Multitudes of negotiations happen throughout life. It can be something as simple as what are we watching on television tonight? Asking for a raise. A couple planning for retirement while helping their children pay for college. Buying a house. Planning a vacation. The list of negotiations grows and changes throughout our lives. Negotiating is key.
Strategy plays a key part in negotiations. You don’t just “wing it” when an important matter is on the table. When it comes to money-related negotiations the strategy often comes into play long before the negotiation is at hand. Let me explain further. For example, having a good credit score is an essential part of most financial negotiations, such as purchasing a home or a car. Yet, a credit score is something that is developed and maintained over years. So obtaining and keeping a high credit score, through financially responsible habits and practices, is part of your long-term strategy. That good credit score will always work in your favor when you are negotiating the purchase of an asset. A good credit score helps you acquire a better interest rate and better terms on a loan.
I have a high credit score which I have worked diligently to obtain and then to keep. A high credit score is something I can control because I understand how the score is calculated and know what I need to do to keep that score high. Maintaining a high credit score is part of my financial strategy. If you do not currently have a high credit score there are steps you can take to raise your credit score. This will be covered in a later blog post.
Preparation and Mindset
Several years ago, I wanted to purchase a certified pre-owned Lexus. Before I went to the Lexus dealership, I sat down with a friend who was highly knowledgeable about Lexus pre-owned vehicles. We conducted research together. I also was in the right frame of mind when I went to the Lexus dealership (accompanied by my dear friend Janet who graciously sat through the entire process with me). I was ready to buy a vehicle that day but I also was ready to walk away if the terms were not acceptable to me.
The negotiation starts when you walk in the dealership door. Carry yourself well. I test drove multiple vehicles. I ultimately chose the Lexus RX350, which I still own, and negotiated a mutually acceptable purchase price. I knew what the vehicle was worth, what I could afford, and also knew what I was willing to pay. I was clear with the salesman that I was also not going to spend all evening going back and forth on price. I think it still took him two trips to the manager’s office, with me rejecting their initial offers, but overall a price agreement was reached rather quickly.
Finally, Janet and I went to the office of the Lexus financial person (who I’ll call Joe) for me to close the deal and sign on the dotted line. Joe told me the financing interest rate was 3.99%. I waited until Joe finished speaking and then I told him that Lexus is promoting a 1.99% interest rate. Joe went on to give me multiple reasons (that I can not specifically recall) as to why I did not qualify for the lower interest rate. Now, this is where my strategy, preparation, and mindset came into play. I politely but firmly told Joe that I definitely qualified for the 1.99% interest rate based on my credit score. I also told Joe that if I did not receive that interest rate I would not be purchasing the vehicle.
At first, I don’t think Joe realized I would walk away because he continued to give me (inaccurate) reasons why I did not qualify for the lower rate. I again politely but firmly told Joe that he was about to lose a deal that took several hours to create, unless I received the 1.99% rate. I asked Joe to go speak with his supervisor and see what could be done.
Lo and behold, Joe returned and said his supervisor agreed to give me the 1.99% interest rate. I bought the Lexus RX350 and still to this day am happy with my purchase. I bought the vehicle, so it was a win for Joe, and it was also a win for me because I got the vehicle I chose at the interest rate I wanted and deserved. I was not stressed, worried, or nervous because I knew I was ready for the negotiation.
Soft and Strong
I believe in soft and strong negotiations. Soft, as in mindful communication. I know no one wants to feel belittled or unheard in a negotiation. Strong because I am confident in my ability to engage with others. I am prepared. I have a strategy. I am emotionally intelligent. I trust in myself. I believe it is my #softandstrong negotiation skills that have served me well throughout my previous career as a Federal Agent and throughout my life. Remember, negotiation resolves an issue in a way that both parties feel is acceptable.
Negotiations take skill, knowledge, preparation, and mindfulness. Negotiations take soft and strong. On October 15th, 2020, Suzanne Jewell, The Mindful Enterpreneur http://suzannejewell.com and me, The MoneyMaestra, are combining forces as SuzieSquared to bring you Mindful Money Negotiations. This workshop is for women and female identifying individuals who want to up their negotiating game! Hope to see you there! https://suziesquaredmindfulmoneynegotiation.eventbrite.com
Susan, The MoneyMaestra