How to Negotiate

Research shows that women pay, on average, 46.5 percent more for goods and services than men do. Whether you're buying a car or trying to prevent a salesman from emptying your wallet, try using Dr. Phil's negotiating tips to get what you want at the right price.

Start with a pre-negotiation phase by claiming the right to negotiate.

"Negotiation really begins before you even engage the seller or the other partner," explains Dr. Phil. Step number one is making the decision that you have the right to negotiate and that you are worth standing up for yourself, getting the best price, and not being taken advantage of. Claim that right, and know that you're not doing something wrong if you do.

Get over your dislike of negotiating.
You don't need to like it; you just need to understand that's how the world often works. You're not browbeating or grinding someone down; you're simply playing the game that the system is set up for. Dr. Phil reiterates, "In this world, you get what you ask for." Don't be bashful. You're worth it.

Open the negotiation.
Dr. Phil offers these lines as suggestions:

  • "I'm absolutely not a buyer at that price." That's a clear signal to the salesman that you're ready to walk unless you can find a common ground.
  • "You need to help me here. I want to do this deal, but I can't at this price."
  • "Let's talk about how to make this more affordable." Then, you can stroke the salesperson by saying, "I really like what you have, but ..."
  • "I'd love to do business with you." Follow up by explaining that you're serious about making the purchase, but you need the numbers to work.

Collaborate to meet both ends, making it a win/win situation.

"My definition of negotiation is that it should be not a confrontation, but a collaboration," explains Dr. Phil. "My first rule of negotiation that I try to adhere to is figuring out how to get the other person as much of what they want ... because the more I get them of what they want, the more I'm likely to get what I want."

Don't take it personally.
Buying a car is not the same as looking for a date. When the transaction is over, the salesperson moves on to his or her next customer. You need not be concerned about whether he thinks you're cute, sweet or funny. Also, don't think there's something wrong with you if the salesperson isn't giving you what you want. "People don't just fork it over," says Dr. Phil.

Educate yourself.
Do your homework. Know what you're talking about before you get there so you can make informed decisions. Get on the Internet and do research. Do comparative shopping. Buy a magazine that has information about the product. Don't say "I don't have time for that." It takes 15-20 minutes.

Have a plan and be willing to ask questions.
There's a price the seller needs to get. They're not going to give you an indication of what that price is unless you ask a lot of questions. Challenge everything.

Don't ever bluff.
If your attitude when asking for a raise is that you need to be paid fairly and you won't settle for less, then mean it. (But that doesn't mean you have to be ready to walk right then and there.)

Don't be emotional.
You don't need it "now," and you don't "just have to have it." Don't "fall in love" with anything, and don't say that out loud to the salesperson. You also need not worry about the seller's children and job security if you get a good deal.

Never pay full price.
When buying a car, the asking price is what's referred to as "stupid price." You're not expected to pay that. Know that the salesman has latitude, and he expects to be asked about a lower price.

Don't believe what's written down.
If a sign says "Not responsible for lost or stolen items," and your car is stolen, it doesn't mean you should walk away and suck up the loss. In fact, says Dr. Phil, the sign "doesn't mean squat!" You need to ask relevant questions, about lighting and security for example, before considering yourself defeated.

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