Why You Should Always Ask for More Than What You Want in a Negotiation

One of the simplest, yet most powerful rules of negotiation is this: Always ask for more than you expect to get. Think about how this can be applied to a number of different scenarios. You should ask your hiring manager for more money when you interview for the job. You should ask your boss for the executive suite even though you would be fine with a private office. You should ask the car salesman for a lower price, even though you are happy with the sale price. You should ask the store for a bigger discount, even if you don’t think there’s a chance you will get it. You may be wondering why you should ask for more, even if it’s unlikely that you will get it. This is a critical negotiation tactic that helps to create a more effective bargaining environment. Here are just a few reasons why you should ask for more than you expect to get.

You Just Might Get It

The main reason you should always ask for more is that you might actually get it! After all, you don’t know if you don’t try. This may sound obvious to those who are positive thinkers, but a large number of people feel defeated before they ever open their mouth. Many people shy away from asking for more for fear of rejection. That might end up leaving money on the table so they are spared the potential rejection and ridicule. The fact is, you should never assume you know what the other party will say or do. Likewise, even if your offer does get rejected, you haven’t actually lost anything at this point. Conversely, if you don’t ask, you may be left to wonder if you could have actually gotten more. 

It Leaves Room to Negotiate

If you are selling something, you can always come down but you can’t go up on the price. If you’re buying, you can always go up on price but you can’t come down. Therefore, always ask for more than expect on the front end. This gives you some negotiating room and makes it easier to get what you actually want. It always gives the other party the perception that you are willing to be flexible and flexibility typically leads to better outcomes. 

It Changes the Perceived Value of the Offering

Believe it or not, asking for more than you expect can actually change the other person’s perceived value. In negotiation, perception is everything so if you can change the other person’s perception, you can control the negotiation. For example, if you are selling a house and you ask for a much higher price than what you actually expect to get, the buyer immediately thinks the house must be worth more than they thought since it’s more expensive. You have changed their perceived value of the home. Although they might still negotiate the price down, it’s unlikely that they will offer way lower than the asking price so you will likely end up getting what you hoped for or a little more. 

Makes the Other Side Feel Like They Won

Let’s use the same example of the house. If your asking price is higher, your buyer might negotiate and you end up settling on a number that aligns with your expectations. At the same time, your buyer feels like they got a deal so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.