Decide what you want and how much you are willing to give-up to get it. In spite of what you see in the movies, negotiation is about compromise. It is not about bullying or imposing your will on the other person. It is about give and take. And it only works when both sides feel that they have made a good deal. Of course, there are ways of manipulating a person into believing that they are receiving a better deal than they really are, but you will almost always have to give up something to get something. For example, if you find an item you desire at a yard sale but think that the twenty dollar price tag is too much, you might try negotiating. In fact, this is a situation that lends itself to negotiation because people at yard sales are expected to haggle over price. Other situations like the price of a ground beef at the grocery store do not lend themselves to negotiation—in that instance the price is the price, take it or leave it. But back to our yard sale example, your first step, as we said, will be to determine how much the item is worth to you. If, for example, you are willing to pay fifteen dollars for it, you should tell the seller that you are willing to pay ten dollars for it and negotiate from there. Odds are you will be able to negotiate a far better price for yourself by following this simple technique.
Be prepared to compromise. As we mentioned, you should never expect to get something for nothing. A good deal is one in which both parties leave the bargaining table believing that they made out. If you are a business person and you negotiate a successful deal, it can often be the basis for a good business relationship going forward. On the other hand, if a person thinks that you are a bully and that you did not negotiate in good faith that will often mean the end of your working relationships. For this reason it is always a good idea to compromise and make certain you part as friends.
Never accept the first offer. It sounds like a cliché, but it happens to be true. Many people who are new to high stakes negotiation make the beginner’s mistake of always jumping at the first good offer when many times the other side would have offered much more. In this case it is recommended that you be a little stubborn or at least patient and simply listen to a number of deals before you accept one. Remember, negotiating is a two way street and if the other party is a skilled negotiator, they will invariably try to trick you and coax you into taking the best deal for them. As we mentioned, the best thing to do is not to argue with them or try to out maneuver them, but to simply remain patient and listen to everything they have to say.
In conclusion, know what you want, be prepared to compromise and never accept the first offer. If you remain patient and follow these simple rules, you will likely receive a good deal. It may not be a perfect deal, but at least you will walk away happy.