It is always surprising to find out how many situations in the service area (e.g. contracts, fees, etc.) are open to negotiations; it doesn’t mean you will always get what you want or that the other will always negotiate, but in so many of these situations, the “seller” has options if asked. We just need to ask. Many people are even reluctant to ask if they could substitute a salad for the fries. One cable company executive confided that she was surprised how few customers make requests for some kind of adjustment.
Why don’t we ask? There are many reasons.
Many of us hate conflict and will go to great effort to avoid it. Many of us like to be liked and are afraid if we make requests we think are out of the ordinary, we will be seen as rude, pushy, and unlikeable. Similarly, many of us hate rejection. We don’t like to hear the word “no,” and will avoid situations where that might be the response.
Get comfortable asking and get used to rejection. Ask courteously and always use good communication etiquette. Ask questions but not in an attack mode (e.g. “what are the circumstances that would allow this…”). Often the response is that the person you are negotiating with doesn’t have the authority to grant your request. This is called “deferred authority,” but suggests that there is someone in authority who might grant your request. You can ask to speak with the person in authority. Thank them sincerely no matter what the response.
Remember, they want to keep your patronage, and they like happy loyal customers. Your requests often cost them little.
As hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, said, you can’t score, if you don’t shoot.