April 26, 2018

The fear of ‘no’.

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Are you ever afraid to ask for a discount, or an ‘extra’? You’re not alone.  Personally, I am much more confident about proposing solutions to problems, hammering out deals and negotiating terms than I am about confronting someone about giving me a discount.

Surely it’s the same thing – it’s asking for something I want, but somehow it feels very different. Maybe it’s being British that holds me back for a second, maybe it’s just that I don’t want to be ‘pushy’, but it’s probably more likely that I often accept things too quickly when it’s already a good deal.

I’m currently negotiating with several tradesmen, who are vying for the job of renovating my kitchen. I’m finding that with each new tradesman that visits to give me a quote I’m getting braver at asking for the discount. Why?

Practice. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with so many negotiations in such a short time.  I’m learning with each tradesman what they expect, what’s involved and what the job is worth.  It was hard before I started the project to know about costs – I’m not a builder, and have no experience of how much this type of work costs.  It’s a steep but quick learning curve.

Information. So now I know more.  I feel more confident and I understand where their concerns lie and where trades can be made.  Timings are important to them – they have other work (or not) to work around, they have people to pay and they have reputations to consider.  On the other hand we want a quality job, on budget, with as little fuss as possible.  We also have other (bigger) work we want done in the future, so if they do a good job here, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t use them again.

Confidence. Instead of blindly asking for something for nothing (e.g. ‘can you knock £500 off your price?’), I can use conditional proposing to ask for something for something.  For example, ‘if you knock £500 off the price, then I can pay you a deposit up front, with agreed weekly payments throughout the job when meeting targets’.  It builds confidence to know what they want, and to be able to offer something for what you want. It’s less pushy.  It’s more assertive.  It’s powerful.  It works.

So far I’ve managed quite a few savings … I might even save enough to buy a bigger kitchen!