Top tips for negotiating with shops or services

There may be times when you need to negotiate with shops or services or individuals selling something. Whether it’s negotiating a price for a second-hand car or trying to get the plumber to come back and mend the leak he caused, it’s all the same skills.
Entrance to the grand pier at the seaside. Photo by Becks Hobbs Photography

1. Know your rights

Before you begin negotiating, take steps to find out what rights you have and what you can reasonably expect them to agree to.

2. Have a plan

Plan what you are going to ask for and how.

Think about any potential problems or any reasons they may have for saying no, and think about how you might respond to them.

Can you think of any ways your request might actually help the business or anything you could do in return.

Having a plan also keeps you focused on what you want when the conversation leads in unexpected directions.

3. Be flexible

You will probably need to compromise. Be prepared for this and decide in advance about what you are willing to compromise on, and how far you are willing to go. Your willingness to compromise will encourage the other person's co-operation.

4. Be calm, confident and assertive

Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. In negotiation you may encounter many different attitudes, sometimes hostile or dismissive, even aggressive.

It is vital that you remain calm and positive. Nobody is at their most persuasive when cross or flustered. Do your best to look confident even if you don’t feel it and try to stick to the plan of what you wanted to say.

Negotiation is about both sides feeling ok with the outcome, and to achieve that you need to make them feel good.

5. Ask questions

When new information or options are presented in the middle of a negotiation, do not be afraid to ask questions until you are confident you have understood what has been said.

December 2020

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