It’s funny how as a kid I knew exactly what I wanted. I remember knowing exactly what (and even how) I was going to get something.
Ice cream shop but have no money as a 10-year-old? Yes, stealing quarters out of the city fountain to pay for it will totally work. Or getting the ice cream, and telling the cashier I forgot my money at home.
Six Flags trip during summer vacation? HELL YES! Mom said no, I’m calling Dad. Dad said no, I’m calling my Uncle.
My point being, as a kid I never questioned my ability to pursue something due to someone else having the power to say no. I knew what I wanted, and I negotiated for it relentlessly.
Now that I’ve grown older, it’s important that when I want something, I think about all the reasons someone or something could say no. I don’t think of ways I can make it work first, I think of ways it won’t work. From child to adult, my mindset evolved from how can I make it work to how it wouldn’t work. How did that happen?
Well, it’s a mindset. As we get older, it becomes harder and harder to know what it is we want. My simple assumption is that as we get smarter and become more self-aware with age (at least most of us), we begin to question everything.
Here are some adult life examples that maybe you can relate to:
- Do you want more time with your family or do you want to make more money?
- Do you want a new kitchen or a new BMW this year?
- Do you want to take 10 days off to visit your in-laws or take 10 days off and see 5 different countries?
The toughest part about these questions is that no one can answer it for you. Knowing what you want is an extremely difficult decision, but once you can put your finger on what it is you want, it becomes fun (but also equally hard).
Decide what you want, and then negotiate for it.
Once you figure out what you want (let’s say it’s the new BMW), it’s time to begin setting yourself up to negotiate for it. What’s the first thing you do when thinking about how to get yourself a new BMW, especially when you know the BMW you want is around $50,000?
- How in the hell am I going to save enough to buy this?
- Can I afford a $50,000 car?
- There’s no way I can get that car for less than $40,000.
- Their sales reps have so many better clients than me. They won’t give me a good deal.
Immediately, you begin negotiating with yourself. Listing all the reasons that determine what you want, and why it’s neither valid nor attainable. You’ve conjured up all your thoughts and feelings why this won’t happen, and you haven’t even stepped foot inside the dealership yet.
Stop negotiating with yourself. Start negotiating with the other party.
Start by putting yourself in the dealership’s shoes. They have quotas to hit just like you:
- Maybe they haven’t sold a car in 2 weeks...they would love me.
- This will be my first BMW purchase; they will be jacked to have a brand-new customer.
- If BMW truly values its clients and their experience, they will do everything they can in terms of pricing and payment to put me in the car immediately.
- I have a growing family, getting me in one BMW may lead to more purchases down the road.
- Maybe the person that sells me the BMW is at the dealership and making his/her first sale.
When I think back to my childhood, I still find it hilarious that I was so relentless. In many ways, the word “no” was music to my ears. As children, we have a natural ability to receive an objection, and negotiate our way through it. As adults, I think it’s important to remember that natural ability, and work it into our daily lives. Self-negotiation can only take you so far. As you approach your next negotiation (whatever it may be), think back to when you were a kid, and remember that negotiating with others isn’t as bad as it may seem.