For me, bartering is one part personality, one part upbringing. My parents NEVER pay full price for anything, ever. Iâ€™ve been negotiating my whole life. My first trip to Tijuana, Mexico felt like Iâ€™d died and gone to heaven. Bargaining was not only embraced, it was expected. I love the rush of offer and counteroffer, but itâ€™s not something necessarily associated with â€śnice girls.â€ť
Guess Iâ€™m not all that nice.
In two previous Skills All Women Should Have posts I talked about what I wanted to share with my nieces when theyâ€™re older â€“ changing a tire and stealing a cab â€“ but this third skill is possibly the most important: negotiating.
Itâ€™s a skill many women either shy away from or avoid altogether. Think about all the negative-sounding verbs associated with negotiating. Haggle, dicker, quibble. Many women bristle when it comes to driving a hard bargain. Plus thereâ€™s the very real possibility of losing the deal.
Hereâ€™s the thing about negotiating, the negotiator runs the risk of pissing people off to the point where no one wants anything to do with them. Iâ€™ve had people walk away from me, disgusted with my offer (hey, itâ€™s only worth what someone is willing to pay). Yet the other week the shoe was on the other foot when I tried to sell an item on Craigslist. My prospective buyer set up a time and place to meet, and just before I headed out the door, she emailed a discounted offer. I admired her guts. This chick was brash and sassy. She reminded me of me. But guess what? I told her no, deleted her follow up emailsâ€¦ and didnâ€™t sell her the item.
Hereâ€™s another negative word associated with negotiating: cheapskate.
Ultimately, the key to being a strong negotiator, at least in my opinion, is striving for BALANCE. Sometimes itâ€™s okay to pay the asking price. Sometimes itâ€™s better to get a discount. Feeling comfortable negotiating is a skill for smart girls. Someday Iâ€™d like to teach my nieces the art of fearless negotiatingâ€¦ of saying NO to an offerâ€¦ and hearing NO back.
So hereâ€™s a cheat sheet for anyone whoâ€™d like to take a test run at this skill:
1. When in doubt, leave it out. Only negotiate for what you truly want, otherwise itâ€™s wasted energy.
2. Buying or selling, ALWAYS be prepared to walk away.
3. If it truly is life changing (and I mean truly, truly life changing) go after it like a son of a bitch and donâ€™t let anyone stand in your way. Pay full price. Or take a first offer. Just accept that life changing means youâ€™ll be living with the results for a long time, possibly forever.
4. The best win is when all parties are happy with the negotiation.
5. Keep negotiating and honing your skills.
So, for whatever this post is worth itâ€™s worth (pun intended) to you, you can pay me back with a LIKE on Facebook. Or make me another offer. In fact, the more you haggle, dicker and barter, the more Iâ€™ll like you.