In the last six months, I negotiated my salary, a car purchase, painting my house, a new roof, and now a refinance. Negotiating is hard. Negotiating is worth every ounce of sweat, research, and stress. Negotiating is fun!
To prepare for a negotiation, you must do your homework. For the job, I researched cost of living and salaries, and I made a budget of my future expenses. Salary.com was incredibly useful, and I purchased a book called Salary Tutor that I inhaled then set my plan that completely paid off. I fought for the talent I bring and was silent while my now-employer offered a salary that was my absolute bottom line. It was not my ideal salary, but it will work for a while.
The car negotiation was next, and research consisted of downloading a few apps: Edmunds, the Kelley Blue Book, and Consumer Reports for their pricing advice. I test drove every car that I was interested in and listened to several sales pitches. When I chose the used Prius, I checked the apps during the negotiations and I felt really good about the price I settled on.
For the paint job, I had to negotiate the time it was going to take. For this one, I used the age-old tactic of crying. I cried on the phone to the painter to ensure a timeline that worked for me. Don’t judge me: crying on demand, in the appropriate situation, is incredibly effective (especially with men — Shhhh, don’t tell anyone I said that!).
In our 40s there is no excuse not to negotiate and get the best deal we deserve. It takes courage. But you if you’ve had babies or a husband you have more courage than me, fa sho’!
The next time you have an opportunity to negotiate, do it! This week, I spent two nights at a hotel that charged $23 per night to park. As I was checking out, with a smile I said, “Is there any way I can get one night of the parking fee waived?” She looked at me, cracked a smile (I was totally silent), and said, “Since this is your first time here, I will waive both nights and I hope you will visit us again!”