• 23rd October 2018

Ten Essential Questions To Think About BEFORE Negotiating

To many of us shy away from asking for more and better. Do you think that you deserve more money? A better working arrangement?  Better prices? Better deals?
As I am writing this article I am sick and tired of seeing people who don’t know what they are worth and in consequence don’t dare to ask for what they truly deserve.

If you have ever sold yourself below your true market value, then this article is for you.

Why do I write about negotiation? 

You might ask yourself what a psychology geek and weirdo like me knows about negotiating. And I must admit that’s a valid question. And the answer waapparently absolutely fucking nothing until very recently.

I think I have messed up 90% of the negotiations that I had. I’ve always accepted the very first offer I received instead of negotiating deals that would save or make money in the long term.

I was throwing away a fuckload of money just for the sake of being lazy and saving myself the tiniest bit of effort.
So why do I want to shake things up and get rid of my lazy habits? Why do I care suddenly?

Something happened that I would never think would happen: people actually read the shit I write. Thousands of them.
So for the first time in my life, I am in a position where people approach me out of the blue in order to negotiate.
This past month I have talked to CEO’s, brand executives and publishers who want to talk me into the idea of releasing my books under their wing.
And there was one commonality in all of the talks – I sucked ass!

The idea that somebody would actually give me money in order to talk about psychology is still super abstract to me. Not only am I writing for free, but I am also freaking paying to write.

It’s that important to me.

As much as I enjoy my stoic residence with a beautiful view of the brokeback mountain, I feel that earning more money would accelerate my growth.
I realized that in order to live a rich life and earn the wins that are important to me I need to become a good negotiator.
But how?!

Being the lazy bastard that I am, I always look for shortcuts.

So instead of learning everything by myself, my favorite way of acquiring skills and information is to ask people who are world class at something about how they do things.

This is why I decided that I need to find a master negotiator and ask him for a negotiating cheat sheet so that I can run through a checklist before I sit down at a negotiating table.

But where do you find a mentor like this?

More often than not we have amazing people in front of our face.
For me, this was certainly the case, with one of my team members and close friends: Matt Van Hove.
He is one of the most successful people I know selling airplanes for Airbus worth hundreds of millions.
I will feature him on the next episode of my podcast to lure out some of his trade secrets for you guys.
I think it’s fair to say that he knows a thing or two about negotiation.

So why should you learn to negotiate?

I was dumbfounded when I actually did the math and looked up what kind of effect a single negotiation can have when you look at the compounded differences of salary over the years.
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I believe that each and every one of you deserves everything this world has to offer. Including a big-ass paycheck. And if a 5-minute negotiation has the power to dramatically change your life in the future years to come I believe that taking some time to improve your negotiating skills is a pretty good investment.

The 4 Laws of Negotiating

  1. Don`t be an asshole
  2. Think Win-Win
  3. Do your fucking homework
  4. Practice, practice, practice

Negotiation Law 1: Don’t be an asshole! – Know what you can and cannot negotiate

One of my favorite finance bloggers Ramit Sethi does an excellent job at teaching people their true earning potential. The video below is a must watch.

Here’s a hard truth about negotiations AND life: You’re not entitled to everything — and that includes a deal on that car you want

Ramit Sethi

In negotiation as well as in life it is key to know what battles we choose to fight.
Picking the right battles when it comes to negotiation will make the difference between saving money or burning bridges with people you care about.
I am currently in the midst of building my first cringy online business and I work with friends. I knew from the get-go that most of them were giving me a bargain.
Trying to low ball them would not only hurt the connection to that person, but it could also lead to them quitting.

Sensitivity is the word to remember here. So ask yourself once in a while, am I being an asshole right now?

Think Win-Win

Aim at a win-win situation for your negotiation.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint guys, focus on building true long-term connections with people instead of going for the fast and easy money and burn bridges along the way.

Too many people have a scarcity psychology.
They somehow along the way internalized that for them to win, somebody else has to lose.
We too often assume that the goal of negotiating is to screw the other person as much as possible in order to get what you want.
I think this is totally wrong.

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to negotiate your credit card rates, your insurance or a new cell phone contract, businesses want to keep you as a customer.
What we tend to forget is that it actually costs huge sums of money to acquire customers. So it is in their best interest to keep you happy.
Of course, many will say “no” when you ask them for a better deal but you will be surprised how many will say “yes”.
A mistake that I often did was to completely lose my shit and give people hell when I felt like they offered me too little.(YOU DO NOT VALUE ME, THOSE PRICES ARE A JOKE..)
A better way to react is to calmly redirect negotiations to a price range where you both feel comfortable. (“We are close, let’s find something works for both of us.”)

Do your fucking homework

It doesn’t matter if you are negotiating your next salary, a discount from your cell phone company or new credit card rates – you need to do your homework beforehand.
Preparation and research are everything.
Think of a negotiation as an oral exam. What happens if you don’t study?
Good guess Sherlock, if you are not doing your research you are going to get kicked in the balls at the negotiation table.
Here is one example of how to negotiate your salary 1

What value are you adding to the company? What problems are you solving?

Exercise: Grab a piece of paper and write down what kind of value you would add to a company or to a customer.  Why would you hire yourself?
The best way to negotiate more money is to emphasize what kind of value you are adding. What kind of problem are you solving?
Why should someone send you away if you make their life better and will continue to do so in the future?
You want to present a person that is fully deserving of that rate. So stand tall, have some balls and be confident, you rock and you should be paid adequately.

Know what you are worth

As obvious as this sounds, I had no idea what my work was actually worth. If you don’t know your average market value you are going to get lowballed at the negotiation table.
Remember, the person in front of you is doing this kind of conversations for a living, if you are lazy and you don’t do your homework he is going to eat you for breakfast.
How do you find out what you are worth?
Well for starters you can google it. Google is pretty much like a fortune ball. It can give you the answer to almost everything.

If you can’t find it on google, ask a friend, a colleague or a stranger who has your desired gig and ask them what they are making. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help you- even if they don’t know you.

Everybody knows how much it sucks to be underpaid, so they will probably sympathize with you.
Now let’s see what kind of checklist you can go through before you are entering a negotiations!

Ten essential questions to think about before negotiating

1. What’s the issue? 

  • Are we clear about what the problem is?
  • Can you paraphrase it in an easier way?

2. Who am I dealing with?

  • What do they hope to obtain?
  • What are their expectations, their values?

3. What do I risk if talks fail?

  • Are the stakes clearly understood?
  • Does each party share the same view on this?

4. What do I do if no deal can be done? 

  • Are my alternatives (away from the negotiating table) clear?
  • Which one of them is best (what is my Batna) Is it strong?

5. What must is my desired outcome?

  • Have I labeled my interest in order of priority?
  • What is my perception of their interests?

6. What can I offer? 

  • In terms of options, choices?
  • What to give in and under what conditions?

7. What criteria can I put forward? 

  • Are my arguments legitimate and recognized?
  • Which persuasion principles should I use?

8. What initiatives should I take? 

  • Opening, to anchor the talks?
  • When to make the first offer?
  • When to suggest exchanging concessions?
  • When to stop and to do a deal?

9. How do I formalize the agreement?

  • Who does What?
  • What kind of guarantees can I give?
  • How to resolve any difficulties?
  • Which options do I have to mitigate possible escalations??

10. How do I manage relations?

  • What matters for me / for them?
  • „Have I considered possible intercultural specifics(cultural gap)?
  • Have I redirected my focus to similarities / common goals rather differences and deviating motivation?

This was it, guys.
Since my last article “How To Create A Better Morning Routine” was almost 20 pages long I thought I’d give you guys something lighter to digest.
As always, thank you for reading and go get yours!



Call to Action

Here is some homework for you. It's your turn now!
  1. Listen to this podcast:
  2. Make a mindmap for 5 minutes! What do you bring to the table: What problems can you solve? How are you adding value? What skills do you have that others don’t have?
  3. Write in the comments what your favorite takeaway was from this article!
  4. Watch this video {preparation for the next exercise takes only 4 minutes- can save you this year alone more than a 1000 bucks just within the next year}

Practice time! Call five companies with whom you have business with and negotiate on fees and rates!
This can be your mobile phone provider, your gym, your cable, your credit card company, your car insurance, you name it. If you can record the conversation and analyze it you will get additional credit!
Start by saying: “I’m a great customer and I would hate to leave but…..what can you do for me?”

Next Article

3 Reasons Why You Should Write a Letter to Your Future Self ( and How to Do it)

Previous Article

How To Create A Better Morning Routine -- My 7 Morning Habits For Highly Effective People

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