"This is my whole life with him. He always can do it better," says Claire, comparing her negotiating skills to her husband's. When we sent each of them out to buy a car stereo separately with undercover cameras following them, the salesman gave Claire a price of $580. Her husband got the price down to $500.
Dr. Phil reads some of the concerns Claire raised in her letter to the show: "I find myself compromising and never really fighting for what I want. I don't take the time to research anything so I am at a disadvantage. I want to believe that people are honest and they will give me the best price ... I get emotionally involved ... I feel inadequate and I just don't want to negotiate because I don't want to take away the salesman's commission."
Claire says she usually goes into a shopping excursion with a price range in mind. So if the price she gets is in that range, she doesn't want to become a "monster person" or a "witch" by pushing for a better deal.
When Dr. Phil can't believe what he's hearing, Claire says, "You're a man, so you don't understand the way I'm thinking!"
"Let me tell you what I do understand: I understand math," Dr. Phil retorts, reminding Claire that her husband walked away with $80 extra in his pockets. "In this world, you get what you ask for," says Dr. Phil, giving her a hypothetical scenario in which she should not simply accept what is written and walk away defeated.
"You're swimming with sharks. That's just the truth in this world ... You've got to start asking questions. Negotiation really begins before you ever engage the seller or the other partner. Pre-negotiation involves making the decision that you have the right to negotiate, that you have the right to get the best possible price."
When shopping for a car, Maggie got a price of $22,933.00. In a separate trip with our hidden cameras, her husband negotiated a price of $21,556.00.
"I can't haggle at all," says Maggie, who believes her husband got a better price partly because he's a man. "It's really intimidating to me," she adds. "I feel like I'm not in any position to ask for what I'm getting."
When Dr. Phil mentions that research shows women pay, on average, 46.5 percent more for goods and services than men do, Maggie is not surprised at all.
Dr. Phil reads some of the statements Maggie has made about how negotiating makes her feel: "I feel a loss of empowerment ... I'm frustrated and angry with them and myself. I'm terrified. I usually feel defeated before I start... They look at me like a moron. I don't know whether to be cute or aggressive."
Then, he reiterates: "You've got to get to a point where you say it's OK to negotiate."
Once again, Dr. Phil can't believe his ears. "Does it occur to you that the system is such where nobody expects you to pay what they ask? There's an asking price, and then there's cost, and then the selling price is somewhere in between. But you have to decide that whether you like the game or not, the game is played. It is a matter of self-worth. It's a matter of: 'Do you feel worthy of getting the best price?'"
Referring to the undercover camera footage, Dr. Phil suggests that Maggie was not wise when she said to the salesman, "I've got money. I've got to do something with it!"
Dr. Phil jokes, "You could give him a heart attack talking like that!"
He asks Maggie: "Is your thought that they won't like you if you ask for a lesser price?"
"I think that's part of it, " she answers, recognizing that that's not how the game is played.
"My definition of negotiation is that it is and should be not a confrontation, but a collaboration," explains Dr. Phil. "It should be a win/win situation. The more I get [the other party] what they want, the more I'm likely to get what I want."
Asking For a Raise
Angela created a notebook for her boss illustrating her accomplishments. It sat on her boss's desk for six months and then Angela took it back without saying a word.
Angela makes about $10,000 less than others in the same job. "Is that what you think you're worth?" Dr. Phil asks. "It's a matter of self-worth.
Dr. Phil gives her another chance to look in the camera and explain why she should get a raise. This time, she says it with conviction.