Every once in a while, people contact me for business reasons. While a vast majority of them make great and reasonable offers and they accept my rates (I make them as fair as possible), there are still a few occasions where some would offer pay that is far too low. When that happens, I simply refuse. Whenever I can, I also refer them to others who might be more willing. I don’t accept offers that aren’t right for me.
Why did I tell you that story? It’s because that’s the “secret” to winning at deals. Well, it’s not so much winning, however, as it is “not losing.” This lesson might be the difference between your moving up in life by getting better and better deals, and you losing time and again because of accepting worse and worse choices.
How to Avoid Losing Negotiations
Imagine that you’re planning to start a certain career and you know that entry level pay is usually around $400 a month or more. After a month of searching for openings, you found one, got an interview, and passed. Before signing the contract, you see that the most generous starting salary they’re offering you is… $200 a month.
Will you accept it? You most likely won’t.
Unfortunately though, some people actually accept LOSING deals because they THINK they can’t get anything better, or they think they don’t DESERVE any better. Aside from accepting bad deals due to desperate financial situations, you accepting unfavorable deals is something you must avoid. That’s easier said than done.
When I read Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I learned a very important lesson that can be applied to both to business and interpersonal relationships:
“Think WIN WIN.”
For every interaction you’re involved in, EVERYONE should benefit. In the job hunt example, that means the employee gets a stable and well-paying job at an acceptable salary, and the employer gets to hire an employee willing to do the work needed. Both of them win. If, however, the employer pays much less than what the employee is worth or if the employee gets paid a fair salary but they’re too lazy or incompetent to do their job well, then that’s a scenario where one party loses and THAT needs to be avoided.
Always think WIN WIN. The best scenario is when everyone benefits.
Now what if the people can’t compromise? The employer is offering an extremely low salary, or the employee is asking for far too much money than what their job is worth? What if the prices they give are the best they can offer, like the employer is just a startup with little money, or the employee is a VERY skilled expert that’s worth a very high salary?
That’s when they should take the next best option: NO DEAL.
If a fair agreement can’t be done, then they should stop negotiating and just look for alternatives. If you recall, that’s what I do with those who are unable to offer prices I agree with. I don’t have anything against them. It’s just the logical thing to do.
That’s a lesson you will need to use. If you don’t like the terms, then it’s much better to just walk away. Just leave the employer who isn’t offering a fair salary, leave the employee who is asking for too much money, leave the friend who only hangs out with you because they want to borrow your money and never pay you back, and leave the toxic relationships where you suffer.
Get rid of the scarcity mindset and adopt an abundance mindset. There will always be alternatives, both for you and for the other person. You don’t always have to compromise or lose on every negotiation. Skip those and look for what’s fair. If you search hard enough, you’ll them everywhere, especially in places where you didn’t think to look.