How to Overcome Fear of Negotiation and Ask for More

My uncle Danny once helped me buy a new Corolla while I watched in awe. He was a ruthless bargaining beast. He threatened. He acted offended. He sat in silence and looked at the seller. In the end, I paid almost $ 5,000 less than I expected. Negotiation is a powerful tool. As a timid person, this is not easy for me, and it may not be easy for you. Here are some of the best ways to do it, even if you’re afraid of it.

Why We Hate Negotiation

Be it my salary or the new Corolla, I was always afraid to negotiate. I don’t like to ask for something, because I’m afraid that I will be considered greedy. I’m afraid of confrontation, refusal and offending someone. Noticed a topic here?

For most of us, this is precisely where the aversion to negotiation lies: fear. The point is, fears are usually unfounded. For example, if you think you are in a confrontation, most likely no one thinks about it. Researchers at Columbia University conducted a study on assertiveness (PDF) and self-awareness. The subjects were asked to participate in mock negotiations and to rate their own level of aggressiveness. Here’s what the researchers found in their own words:

Many people who were thought to be assertive enough by their colleagues mistakenly thought they were being considered overly assertive, a new effect we call the linecrossing illusion. .. In Study 3, for example, 57% of those who were deemed not assertive enough felt that their peers viewed them as appropriately assertive or overly assertive.

In other words, if you think you are too assertive , you probably are not. It’s worth noting that the study also showed the opposite is true, though: the super persistent UNDE people restimated their level of self-confidence. However, if you tend to be a shy, timid person, chances are, when you are “confrontational,” no one else thinks so.

The bottom line is that our fear of negotiating is often unfounded. And that’s important to ask because the request process raises achievements and highlights to talk about, even if you don’t get promoted. Plus, every time you do this, you increase your confidence. At the same time, I can remind myself of this over and over again, and while it helps, in the end I am still afraid to ask for more money. However, I have found some tips to help you understand this point. At least they help me make this process a little easier.

Arm yourself with research

The specialists after school told us that knowledge is power, and they were right. Armed with the information you need, you can feel more comfortable and confident when negotiating. If you’re asking for a higher salary or a better deal on the couch, it helps to understand what you’re talking about.

First, research the numbers. If you are negotiating a raise or new salary, use a site like Glassdoor to make sure your request is reasonable. Educate to Career also offers a free payroll calculator to help guide your payroll. It is easier to get rid of your fear of confrontation if you know what you are asking honestly. The same can be said for the best purchase price. If you are buying a car, find out how much other buyers have paid. My uncle really took the cake to negotiate my Corolla up to $ 11,000, the rest of us may not be that experienced, but researching a fair price is a good start.

Other than that, it also helps to figure out what the other party wants . What does your boss want? What are her goals and how can you help her in this? What does the Craigslist dude who sells you his couch want? Is it moving? Maybe you can negotiate a better deal if you offer to come and pick up his stuff while you do it. For cars, find out how much dealers want to make on the manufacturer’s suggested vehicle price. They are not going to sell it at a loss, but you can find out what their average profit is and then use that information to figure out how low they are willing to go. Car Buying can help you find MSRP versus invoice price and dealer real value.

These are specific examples, but the point is, when you know what the other side wants, you have the leverage. In addition, you can approach the negotiation process in a completely different way. This is not a confrontation, but the fact that both sides help each other get what they want.

Approach Negotiation as “Problem Solving”

For assertive people who are not afraid of confrontation, it is easy to gain the confidence to negotiate. For a long time I tried to change my personality in order to better negotiate and speak out. I tried to imitate assertive people and forced myself to be as much like Mark Kubin as possible, even though that’s just not me. It didn’t work. Instead, it made me overcompensate for some really awkward situations.

I found a better approach. Instead of struggling with my personality and behavior, I learned to work with them. I changed my perspective on negotiations. It’s not about confrontation; it’s about being straight. And the point is not to convince someone , but to jointly solve problems .

Corporate negotiation consultant Jeff Weiss explained it to Harvard Business Review :

“If you make negotiations adversarial, you make sure they become adversarial,” says Weiss. Instead, approach it as an act of collaborative problem-solving: what are the main problems at hand, what are my interests and their interests, and what are the different possible options for meeting these different interests? “Negotiating is not about making concessions, but being creative,” adds Weiss. This positive, innovative approach is not only far more likely to lead you to a profitable solution, but also to a place of trust.

Likewise, research shows that friendliness can go a long way in effective negotiation. In astudy published by the American Psychological Association , researchers asked students to negotiate by email. Some of them only shared their names and addresses, and these students made deals less than 40% of the time. But when students shared a little irrelevant personal information, such as details about their hometown or hobby, they reached an agreement 59% of the time. The general finding of the study was that people are more likely to come to terms with someone they know. On LinkedIn, professor and negotiation expert Adam Grant calls this the “norm of reciprocity.” Basically, it means that sharing information makes you seem trustworthy, and if the other party thinks you are trustworthy, they are more willing to open up, reciprocate, and offer you a better deal.

Of course, your own mileage may vary. Some people make good deals because they wear down the other side and act downright unpleasant. However, for those of us who avoid negotiating for fear of confrontation, it can be of great help to simply rethink how we think of negotiation in the first place.

Practice when the stakes are low

With the most daunting tasks, the more you do them, the less daunting they become. The first time I spoke in front of a group of people, I was scared and wanted to crawl into a hole and fall asleep . Now that I’ve done this a few times, I’m still scared, but it’s not as bad as the first time because I know what to expect.

It’s the same with negotiation, and it helps you start with less daunting tasks. So instead of going to a car dealership and asking thousands of dollars for your car, start when the rates are low : bargain for a couple of dollars at a sale. Or flex your bargaining muscles on the phone with your cellular operator: “By the way, do you have a better deal that you can offer? Or at the farmers’ market, ” How would you throw off a couple of bucks?” This is a low-rate setup; if they say no, it probably won’t affect you much, but it will help you get comfortable in the process.

Rehearsals are helpful too. Take a trusted friend, mentor, or colleague and discuss the negotiation process with them. Ask them for feedback and advice.

Focus on listening

It’s hard to be a shy, withdrawn person in a sea of ​​creaking wheels. These wheels are lubricated while you are trying to be heard. To get around this, suggests being direct and then focusing on listening:

What’s really important is your ability to specify exactly what you want – salary, benefits, and bonuses (if any) – in terms the employer can understand. This is where your introvert’s listening skills come in handy. During the interview, pay special attention to the employer’s needs and wants. Then, when you ask for more than the initial offer during the negotiation, show how well you heard the interviewer by identifying how each request helps the employer.

This advice goes hand in hand with researching what the other person wants and approaching the situation as a collaborative problem solving. Instead of berating yourself for not being assertive, you can focus on your strengths, and for many shy people, listening is strength.

Likewise, do not be afraid of silence. It doesn’t have to be an awkward, confrontational silence, like my uncle crossed his arms and made this car salesman ” painful thinking .” If this makes you uncomfortable, you can politely tell the other person that you need to think a little. The idea is the same – you take a silent pause , which can be very effective in negotiations. It also gives you a chance to think about your next step.

The bottom line is that if you don’t have a ton of tricks up your sleeve, listening and being quiet will go a long way and just talk less.

Follow the script

If all else fails, follow a simple script or technique to help you separate emotion from the process and get the job done. Here are some scenarios to get you started:

It all comes down to repeating these words and actions, but of course you don’t want to repeat them word for word and make it seem like you are actually reading the script. It would look awkward and unnatural. However, use your own words to convey the same message.

Bargaining is easy for a lot of people, but for everyone else, it’s just scary. If negotiation is not for you, these steps can help you come to terms with your fear, rethink the way you think about it, and gradually learn to speak and ask for something.


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