Don’t Be Too Timid To Bargain

Don’t Be Too Timid To Bargain

These simple negotiating techniques can help you save money on almost everything

By Donald And Dorothy Stroetzel

THE SALESMAN SQUINTS at the price tag. “This refrigerator will cost you $859.99,” he says. You wince; the most you want to pay is $700. What do you do? Do you tell yourself that $159.99 isn’t really that much and pull out your credit card? Or, do you muster your courage, look the salesman in the eye and ask, “Will you take less?”

“Those four- words can save a family hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year,” claims Alan Schoonmaker, a New Jersey psychologist who coaches business negotiators for Control Data, Mobil Oil, and other large corporations.

Prices of many family purchases—actually the biggest ones—are negotiable. Yet most people are too timid to try it. Here, from Schoonmaker and other experts, are tips to help you bargain your way to savings:






ESP[1] (extra-sensory perception), premonitions, omens, lucky cards, favorite dealers, changing seats or decks, prayers, and every other attempt to predict or control cards are utter, absolute nonsense. Whenever I say that, people offer “proof” that I’m wrong, usually anecdotes about amazing, inexplicable events.

They had a hunch that a miracle card would come, and they got it! They were convinced they were going to win tonight, and they won! They changed decks or seats, and they went from cold to hot! They always lose when Joe deals, but always win when Mary does. How else can I explain these amazing events?

Extremely Dependent People

Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, and many other people who marry repeatedly illustrate extreme dependence. They are so desperate for love and acceptance that they can never get enough of it. They change mates again and again, hoping that someone, somewhere, will fill that aching void.

Jimmy Carter was – by a huge margin – the most dependent recent president. Of course, he could never have become president without considerable dominance, but he had many extremely dependent characteristics. Instead of leading forcefully, he was deliberately self-effacing (smiling constantly, carrying his own luggage, walking at his inauguration, asking to be called, “Jimmy”), and he pleaded for understanding and affection from us, our allies, even the Soviets. He also illustrated some of dependency’s positive effects. After years of war, Nixon, and Watergate, we needed a decent, warmer president who inspired trust and openness.

General Characteristics: They crave people’s love, acceptance, understanding, and approval. They can’t feel good about themselves unless people like them. They really are dependent upon others’ feelings about them.

If You’re Too Dominant

Recommendations For Extremely Dominant People.

This blog continues the discussion of “Extremely Dominant People.” To read it, click here

Lighten up. Don’t push so hard. And concentrate on understanding the other side. These themes interact with each other because your obsession with winning may prevent you from understanding, or even trying to understand them. All our recommendations relate to these themes. Build on your natural strengths, but adjust to your personal style’s negative effects.

Don’t make everything into a battle. Focus on the important ones, and let other people win a few.

Work on listening better. Remember, understanding other people is the single most important negotiating skill. Listen with your eyes as well as your ears, and try to understand more than just their negotiating positions. Look for signs that you’re pushing too hard, that they are becoming unnecessarily uncomfortable, stubborn or thinking of walking out. Try to understand how they feel and what they want from you besides just a good deal.

Be more flexible. Make your offers a little more reasonable, your concessions a little larger, and your compromises less grudging. Make them want to concede instead of creating unnecessary rigidity. Don’t make the Law of Irrationality work against you.

Don’t overemphasize pure bargaining. Look for problem-solving and trading opportunities. How can you structure a deal that satisfies both parties?

Continuously remind yourself of the importance of letting them save face; then make a concession or take whatever other action will make them feel better.

Above all, try for a greater emphasis upon win-win.

You can view a free video, “The Negotiating Process,” by clicking  here.

You can rent a video about negotiating styles for $1.99 by clicking  here

Extremely Detached People

Recommendations for Detached People

Because extremely detached people shun publicity, we don’t know much about them. We have all met highly detached accountants and engineers, but they don’t reveal personal information. Nor can we get much from other sources. People magazine doesn’t write about them (and they would be horrified if it did). Two excellent examples are fictional characters from another planet, Spock and Data of “Star Trek” (“I have no emotions.”).

General Characteristics: They like things, ideas, or numbers more than people. They don’t understand emotions and try to avoid them; they suppress their own emotions and are insensitive to other people’s feelings. They are shy, aloof, impersonal, and uncommunicative. Because they’re so indifferent to emotions, many people regard them as cold and uncaring, and that criticism is often justified.

They like order and predictability. Their desks, homes, offices and checkbooks are neatly arranged, and they often have tightly-controlled routines and schedules. One reason for avoiding people is that they are not as orderly and predictable as numbers or machines.

They are independent, but in a different way from dominants. They have even less need for warm relationship, but they don’t flaunt authority. They accept the impersonal authority of rules and procedures (at least those that make sense to them), but avoid people who attempt to control them directly.

Extremely Dominant People

Because dominant people crave power and success, which often bring fame or notoriety, there are many prominent examples: John Wayne, General Patton, football coach Vince Lombard! (“Winning isn’t the most important thing; it is everything.”), N.Y. Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner (One of his limited partners once said, “Nobody is more limited than his limited partners.”), Donald Trump (“You’re fired!).

General Characteristics: They nearly always push and take control. They are excessively competitive and must win at everything. Business, golf, even cocktail parties are con­tests. They need to make more money, have a lower handicap, and score more points at parties. As Donald Trump put it, “My whole life is about winning… I almost never lose.”

Status-consciousness is a natural part of their competitiveness. When they meet a stranger, they want to know: “Am I better than he is? Do I make more money, own a larger house, play better golf? Is my spouse better looking? Are my children smarter?”

They are ambitious, tough, aggressive, manipulative, overbearing, closed-minded, and anti-intellectual.


You can view a free video, “The Negotiating Process,” by clicking  here.

You can rent a video about negotiating styles for $1.99 by clicking  here.

Pure Bargaining Versus Joint Problem-Solving

There are two diametrically opposed negotiating approaches: pure bargaining (PB) and joint problem-solving (JPS). PB is a way to cut up a pie; who gets what? The more you get, the less I get.
 JPS is a method for increasing the size of the pie.

Because JPS increases the size of the pie, there is more for everyone, and concentrating on it should benefit everyone. Its superiority has been demonstrated by the extreme wealth of western societies. One reason for our wealth is that we tend to be problem-solvers with its related values: objective analysis of information, relatively open communications, and emphasis upon trust.

Societies that emphasize bargaining, such as many Third World countries, are much poorer. They spend so much time and energy dividing up the pie that they don’t make enough of it. Tribal, caste religious, class, and other conflicts take too much of their time and energy; trust is minimal; objectivity and openness are rare, even despised.

However, there is another side to the story. The problem-solving approach benefits both parties only if they both use it. If one side is problem-solving, while the other is bargaining, the problem-solver will usually be exploited.

This pattern has occurred again and again in diplomatic and trade negotiations. America has the military and economic power, but it often gets terrible deals. As Donald Trump has repeatedly stated, “We got taken”

Trump’s Brilliant Positioning


He is a master negotiator, and much of his success comes from superb positioning. He has repeatedly and very effectively applied this chapter’s principles in business and presidential negotiations. Please note that I am not judging – either positively or negatively – his objectives. That’s not my job. My only job is to teach you and other people how to negotiate. You, I, and everyone else can learn from President Trump’s words and actions.

He Is Extraordinarily Deceptive.
Information is power, and he increases his power by knowing much more about what other people think, want, and will do than they know about him. He has made many statements that conflict with each other or with solid evidence. Very few people are sure they know what he really believes.

He is always negotiating, and some of his opponents don’t realize they’re involved in a negotiation until long after he has established and exploited a strong position against them. Some never realize it. I’m writing this chapter about a year after his inauguration, and many media people still don’t realize how much they helped their “enemy” to strengthen his negotiating positions. They deny the obvious evidence that – without their help – he never would have been elected.

If they had really listened to him instead of mindlessly attacking him, they would have realized that he wanted them to attack him. He obviously craved publicity and had even said, “No publicity is bad publicity,” but they gave him an immense amount of free publicity.

Competition is Life’s First Law

Dr. Al Schoonmaker

All organic beings [forms of life] are exposed to severe competition.
Charles Darwin1

Poker is a predatory game; the strong eat the weak.
Roy Cooke, professional player and writer

Many people deny that law because it’s painful, while delusions are much more pleasant. Denying reality is everywhere, and it’s extremely destructive.

You can get away with denial for a while in business, investing, and other games, but not in poker. It’s so brutally competitive and realistic that pleasant delusions quickly disappear (if you are open-minded enough to heed poker’s lessons). If you have the cards and the skill, you win; if not, the stronger players eat you alive, just like they do in real life, but much more quickly and visibly.

Where there is life, there is always competition. It can be savage and visible or quiet and subtle, but life can’t exist for long without competition. The winners survive and reproduce; the losers die and disappear. It’s not pleasant, but it’s a fact, and you’d better accept it.

Negotiate to Win 2nd Edition: Preface

Negotiating skill can make or greatly improve your career, and it will CERTAINLY put money in your pocket.

Of course, you doubt me and think I’m just trying to sell you my book. You probably don’t think about negotiations too often, and when you do, you probably think about high level ones such as internation­al treaties, athletes’ salaries, and union-management negotiations. You may also think that the only business people who have to negotiate are buyers and sellers. But virtual­ly everyone with a demanding job has to negotiate from time to time.

In fact, YOU negotiate more often than you think you do. You may never sit down at a formal negotiating session, but every time you try to reach an agreement on a budget, or who will be assigned to a project, or how your job will be defined, you probably have to negotiate.