Why Knowing What is Negotiable is Key to Successful Negotiations

Whether you are negotiating the terms of a new job or you are attempting to close the biggest deal of your career, negotiations are always going to be part of your professional life. When you stop to think about it, most things in life are partially negotiable. You would expect to negotiate the price of a new car, the price of a house, or even divvying up household chores. What you may not expect is that there is usually more up for negotiation than you may realize. For example, did you know you can negotiate the terms of your auto loan? Did you know you can negotiate medical bills? Were you aware that you can even negotiate the interest rate on your credit card? The fact is, knowing what is negotiable can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your personal life and this same principle applies to professional negotiations. 

How to Find Out What is Negotiable?


Gather Background Information: Walking into a negotiation blindly can ruin your chances of negotiating successfully. For example, if you are negotiating your salary, you need to know what people in similar positions make. If you are negotiating the terms of a service agreement, you need to know what kinds of deals and agreements similar companies are offering. The more research you do in advance, the more you will be able to bring up any knowledge or data during the negotiation. This will put you in a better position to negotiate additional items. 


Find Out What is Motivating the Other Party: You want to learn as much as you can about the person you are negotiating with and you should start by discovering their pain points. Let’s say, for example, you work for a printing company and you have a client that needs flyers printed for their upcoming conference. If you know that they are in a huge hurry, you have identified their problem and you can use this to your advantage. They would probably be willing to pay a rush fee in exchange for getting the flyers printed quickly. In another example, let’s say you are negotiating the price of a new car. If you discover that the salesperson is just one car away from meeting their quote, chances are they will negotiate with you to get the deal done. By identifying what is motivating your counterpart, you can get a better understanding of what is most important to them and what they might be willing to negotiate. 


You Don’t Know if You Don’t Ask: You never know what is negotiable if you don’t ask, and chances are, more things are negotiable than you would probably assume. When negotiating, think about all the factors that can affect your deal other than price alone. For example, when negotiating an auto loan, you can work to negotiate the length of the loan, the interest rate, or other terms. Ask the lender if they would be able to negotiate any of these factors? You might be surprised at what you find. If you are negotiating the terms of a new job, you should consider all of the factors that will affect your job aside from salary alone. For example, would they be willing to offer a flexible work schedule, better benefits, or more vacation days? Oftentimes, there is more to be negotiated than price alone.  All you have to do is ask. Don’t miss out on negotiating a potentially better deal for failure to ask.