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Let’s make a deal: Negotiate to win

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in Salary Negotiating,Workplace Communication

Even if you're not in charge of purchasing, each day in the workplace tests your negotiating skills. Do you practice these tactics?

Negotiate almost anything at any time with anyone. A written price often represents only the starting point for discussion. Even if the dollar amount remains the same, you may be able to net "extras" in the deal, such as free delivery, generous payment terms, an extended warranty, installation, training ... the list goes on.

And you can negotiate with almost anyone, including the vendor who already enjoys your business. If you have an offer from a competitor, mention it.

Don't reserve your bargaining cap for big-ticket items only; small savings add up.

Be willing to revisit negotiations, as well. If you and a co-worker want to redistribute duties, agree to follow up after a month to ensure that it's working for both of you.

Clarify the terms at the outset. Ask, "What does that include?" If you don't, the vendor can appear to offer "extras," such as free delivery, that could have been included at the beginning.

When the boss promises to "reward" your hard work, ask what he or she means, so the raise you think you're getting doesn't turn out to be lunch.

Arm yourself with information. If you want time off or a flexible schedule, know how your organization has handled similar requests. Learn when vendors hold sales.

Negotiate face to face. Saying "No" is more difficult in person. When you want or need something from a colleague, visit him or her rather than picking up the phone or sending e-mail.

Practice key phrases. Become comfortable asking these questions: "Is this the best you can do?" "When is this going on sale?" "Why can't you do that?"

Walk away when necessary. Don't feel undue pressure to decide quickly. If you walk out of a store today, the salesperson won't lock you out tomorrow.

Adjust your goal. Win/win deals are nice, but aren't always necessary. If the deal's outcome is more important than your relationship with the other person, a win for you and a loss for the other party may represent the best outcome.

If you're in a long-term relationship, however, expect that, occasionally, the other side will win and you will lose. Take a big-picture view of the "score."

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