Negotiation: Art or Science?

At a flea market, I saw a vendor selling 2 poster size frames for $4 each and various sizes of vases for $2 each. I asked if they would provide a discount if I bought more quantities — i.e. 2 frames and 2 vases. They provided me a $2 discount, which obviously made one of the vases free of charge.


The poster size frames I bought at the flea market.

When I was working retail, one of my responsibilities was to sell the brand credit card. I always negotiated with my customers on what perks I can give them right away when they sign up for the credit card right then. For example, I would double up on the discounts that they would receive (not allowed by company policy, but hey I contributed to the key performance indicators of the store!) and half the time I got some of them to sign up using this method.

I am what you would call an average negotiator. At the risk of revealing my weakness — negotiating is not one of my strongest suits. Let’s just say that when I’m negotiating face-to-face with someone, I tend to get tongue-tied and often second guess myself.

So what does a newbie like me do with this?

a. Practice makes perfect. I think when you practice enough, you will find the strategy that works best for you and for your end goal. 

b. Always come prepared. Negotiating prices? Always shop around. Negotiating services? Again, shop around. Negotiating salary? Make your BFF.

c. When you find yourself tongue-tied in situations that you’re somewhat uncomfortable in, get yourself out there. Talk to people who you find intimidating or so smart that you feel that when you talk to them you have to know what your talking about. This will get you in the mode of talking with confidence AND it will force you to do letter B.

Now I know I should do what I preach. I’ll let you know what happens!

What kind of a negotiator are you? Does negotiating flow naturally from you? Or do you feel the same way as I do?


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