The other day, I wrote about the fear people have in asking for a price increase (when they're the seller), or a price decrease (when they're the buyer). I wrote about the psychology involved in simply asking for what you want. To highlight that point, I deliver the following story.

A friend and I were having breakfast, at a diner and she told me of a negotiation experience she recently had. She saw a pair of shoes that she liked at Lord & Taylor (a very high-end upscale department chain). The shoes were marked at $79. As the result of prior conversations she and I had about negotiations, she thought shed ask the Lord & Taylor associate if he would reduce the price. She informed him that she had seen the exact pair of shoes, at another establishment, for $59. He told her in a stern manner that he could not reduce the price. So, she politely asked if she might speak to the manager. She made her request for a price reduction to the manager, of the department and told him she had seen the exact pair of shoes at a lower price. To make a long story short, in the end, she got the shoes for $59.

What lessons can we learn from this experience? First, she was not afraid to ask for a price reduction, even though she was doing so in a very high-end upscale store; most people would thank such an establishment would never reduce their price, or most people would be too embarrassed to make such a request. Second, even after she was told the price could not be reduced, she took her request to a higher authority. In the end, she got what she wanted, because she just asked for it. The moral of the story is, when you're negotiating, don't be afraid, just ask.

Greg Williams - The Master Negotiator


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