Monday, September 21, 2015

How to Negotiate

In the position I retired from negotiating contracts was a huge part of my job description.  Even though the contracts were worth -sometimes - millions of dollars, my approach to them was basically how I would haggle for a price for a kitchen appliance or domestic contract.  My technique was so simple that the vendors who were peddling million dollar machines, couldn't see through my approach.  They weren't paying attention to the way their wives / spouse got all those great deals for their home and family.

This is where I should reveal I retired as a Medical Imaging Director.  I exceled in the field and loved the position.  I had freedom with very little over sight once the COO realized I didn't need to be managed.  We met often, I ran things by her and she would get behind me 100%.

I contracted for CT machines, x ray machines, ultrasound, and mammography units.  Added to that were contracts for all consumable items used to support these modalities, such as gowns, film, maintenance contracts, all the way down to band aids and alcohol pads.   My skills saved my employer multiple millions of dollars a year.  All because I used the skills I developed as a home maker.

This information has been held close to my heart since I retired.  What's done is done so I left it behind me.  I admit, however, it's comforting to see this in print to remind me I have offered society quite a bit in this field.  Something I often forget.  I tend to spend most of my days in the here and now.  I am revealing this for a reason.

This morning I negotiated a contract with serius radio.  I reduced the annual bill from 219.00 (fees and tax included) to 119.62 (fees and tax included)

Here's how I negotiate:

1.  Always remain polite, yet firm.  Negotiating is an act of business, it's not personal.  When we make it personal we are giving the opponent the lead before we get started.

2.  Never reveal anything personal until the deal is closed.  Saying I'm retired before then gives the opponent information to work with. 

3.  Be fair, but move the contract in your favor.  Going too far will close negotiations.  Serius offered me a lower price, but I wasn't happy with it so I politely refused the offer.  Following that offer was a better one which I felt was fair for each of the parties involved.  Less than 10.00 a month for commercial free radio is a nice deal.  I also refused to give my credit card number to them and they will bill me through the mail.  This was an important part of my negotiations.   I feel unsafe when a company has my card information in their files.  After all, if I don't protect myself, who will?

4.  Have a notepad, pen and calculator with you so you can quickly figure out amounts.  It is common for companies to hit you with lower costs for shorter terms.  When this happened this morning I was prepared to politely turn down the offer.

Simple tools for simple negotiating tactics.

5.  Be patient.  If you can't reach your goal during the first negotiation encounter, wish them a good day and leave the 'table'.  If they really want your business, they will pursue you.  I once did a contract that took over nine months to complete.  I received the lowest prices in my community and no delivery charges.  On top of that the vendor wrote a letter to my employer saying some delightful
things about me.  This is a good area to learn the art of patience because a person can witness the benefits of the act.

6.  Be prepared to walk away without the item you're asking for.  There's always a small chance that a company has archaic policies and hasn't thought about customer retention.

It's that simple.  I bet if you think about it, you already do most of these things.  I only put the process in black and white.

Stay safe.


  1. Angie such a good post as always. You must of read my mind as I know you are retired but I wandered what your job was prior to retirement. So thank you for sharing this and your method of negotiation.