Many people don’t take advantage of opportunities to negotiate better deals, because they are afraid to ask. They may be concerned about offending the other party, thereby damaging a relationship, or perhaps they fear rejection. But not all relationships are equal. Here are two tips on how to overcome this obstacle to getting more in life.
1. Differentiate between personal relationships and transactional relationships; the former are friends and family, people with whom you interact frequently in your private life, often on a more emotional level. The latter are people with whom you do business; this category includes vendors, contractors, service providers, retail establishments, and even colleagues at work. A salesperson may try to come off as your best friend, because s/he knows that creating confusion in your mind about the nature of your relationship may cause you to accept a less lucrative deal. Don’t become prey to this tactic; keep in mind that you may never see this person again. Even if you do business with someone on a repeat basis, it’s important not to confuse the nature of the relationship. In a transactional relationship, asking for what you want is just good business practice. With regard to colleagues at work, consider that despite rapport you may have established, you still compete for promotions and raises, i.e., the relationship is transactional.
2. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen if I ask for what I want?” Assuming that you give a reason for your request and don’t threaten or insult the other party, the answer is probably that the other party says no. You are in no worse position than before.
Everything can be negotiated, but you have to ask. I hope these two tips will give you the confidence to ask for what you want.