Ten Things People Don't Realize They
Can Negotiate For
by Ed Brodow
people are reluctant to exercise their bargaining power. In my seminars,
when I discuss ways to expand your paycheck by negotiating, participants
will say, "But I can't do that." After they observe my facial reaction,
they blurt out, "You mean I can?" Even sophisticated business executives
are bearish when it comes to what is -- and what is not -- negotiable.
Here are ten negotiables you may not have thought of:
1. Salary. People are afraid they will antagonize the boss or even
lose their job if they attempt to negotiate what they are paid. This is
fostered by what I call "management by intimidation." However, if the
company values your services, it can't afford to fire you for being assertive.
And if they do, so what -- you'll find a better job.
2. Loan rates and approvals. Bank officers typically have some
discretion when it comes to doling out money. If you are turned down for
credit, be assertive and challenge their assumptions. Present your point-of-view
in a positive yet polite way.
3. Income tax. The Internal Revenue Service is amenable to your
ideas about what you should have to pay and how long you should have to
pay it. The tax code is not always clear. Don't assume that the IRS is
4. Professional fees. Your doctor, dentist, accountant, etc., may
be willing to give you a discount if you are willing to ask for one. They
typically lose a substantial percentage of their income to patients or
clients who refuse to pay anything at all. Many professionals would rather
settle for something from you than wind up with nothing.
5. Credit card fees. In most cases, charges such as the annual
fee and even the interest rate are negotiable. If your credit card company
won't waive the fee, cancel the card.
6. Consumer goods. Most people don't realize the extent of their
negotiating power when it comes time to purchase retail items. Recently,
Fox News followed me around a shopping mall with a hidden camera as I
piled up a whopping $3,500 in discounts in just a couple of hours. The
discounted items: furniture, clothing, appliances, jewelry, and cell phones.
7. Hotel rates. In addition to the rate offered to the traveler
off the street (the "rack" rate), hotels typically offer corporate rates,
senior rates, AAA rates, weekend rates, etc. Tell them what you'd like
to spend -- you may be surprised by the result.
8. Vacation packages. The printed price lists that you see are
merely the tip of the iceberg. Salespeople in the travel industry often
have lots of room to make deals, especially when they are hungry.
9. Funerals. Funeral parlors may benefit from the emotional trauma
experienced by the bereaved when it comes to prices for caskets and various
services. Burying your money with the deceased makes little sense when
you can negotiate these items.
10. Divorces. Here again the emotional trauma often prevents participants
from treating this like any other business transaction, which is what
it is. Negotiation strategies -- such as extreme offers, lowering the
other side's aspirations, setting high goals, and being willing to walk
away -- work just as well here as in other contract negotiations.
Ed Brodow is a keynote speaker and negotiation guru on PBS, ABC News, Fox News,
and Inside Edition. He is the author of Negotiation Boot Camp:
How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals. For
more information on his keynotes and seminars, call 831-372-7270, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
and visit Brodow.com.
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