Friday, August 27, 2010

Negotiation is fun!

I love to negotiate and get things at a lower rate. It’s fun. Plus, I love paying less for things.

When I sat down and really took a look at my monthly bills, I realized I was paying way too much for some services. Some of these services I didn’t even need. I was paying for 3 cell phones AND a home phone. What did I need a home phone for? I didn’t! I was paying for premium cable channels that I don’t even watch like Showtime. I was still paying for the same cable/phone/internet bundle I had signed up for 2 years earlier that was no longer costing me $99 a month, now I was paying $200 a month. All 3 of my cell phone plans were way too much, in total I was paying $260 or more a month for cell service. I was paying all this extra money because I was too lazy to try to get them lowered.

After looking at my bills, I decided I was going to take a day and get these bills lowered. First, I decided to tackle the cable/home phone/internet with Comcast. I figured it would be easier to contact them using the online chat feature they now have. I started the chat by saying that I love my Comcast service and would hate to switch because I could get a better rate someplace else. I told them I needed to make some changes to my service and would like to cancel my home phone. They told me I would have to call Comcast to shut off a service, so then I moved on to lowering my cable and internet prices. It was pretty easy actually. I told them what I wanted, which was a lower bill, and asked what they could do for me. The representative gave me a couple options, but held out the big guns in case I refused those. I refused. He then offered me what I was already getting, minus Showtime, add free HBO for a year AND faster internet for $99 a month. I agreed to this offer and told him not to do anything with the phone. After turning off my home phone, I saved myself over $100 a month by taking 30 minutes out of my Saturday to ask.

Next, I moved to At&t and T-Mobile. At&t was easy, this is my mother’s cell phone and she only uses the phone for calls to me. I took all the cool stuff off of her service and left her with as few minutes as possible, lowering the bill to $50 a month from the $100 it was. Saved another $50.

Then to T-Mobile. I have a Family plan with T-Mobile with 2 phones. I was paying over $200 a month. T-Mobile also has the chat feature, so I started a chat with a representative. Again, I told them how much I love their services and that I am looking to lower my month bill. I had everything, unlimited everything and MyFavs. For me, I don’t even use many minutes or the MyFavs because I’m a texter not a talker. I cut the MyFavs and went from unlimited minutes to 1500 minutes Even More plan. This is a gamble because my partner is a talker. Essentially she gets most of the 1500 minutes, so everything should be cool. We are now down to about $150 a month. Saving another $50.

All together I saved myself $200 a month just by asking.

There are many other places you can negotiate for a lower price. I have negotiated hundreds off of the price of furniture, new tires, carpet cleaning, hotel rooms, debts all sorts of things. I always ask if there is a discount and there usually is.

I haven’t tried to negotiate my credit card interest rate yet, but that’s next.

I have found using these tips are a good way to save yourself some money each month. lists these tips to use when negotiating:

• Goals: what do you want to get out of the negotiation? What do you think the other person wants?

• Trades: What do you and the other person have that you can trade? What do you each have that the other wants? What are you each comfortable giving away?

• Alternatives: if you don’t reach agreement with the other person, what alternatives do you have? Are these good or bad? How much does it matter if you do not reach agreement? Does failure to reach an agreement cut you out of future opportunities? And what alternatives might the other person have?

• Relationships: what is the history of the relationship? Could or should this history impact the negotiation? Will there be any hidden issues that may influence the negotiation? How will you handle these?

• Expected outcomes: what outcome will people be expecting from this negotiation? What has the outcome been in the past, and what precedents have been set?

• The consequences: what are the consequences for you of winning or losing this negotiation? What are the consequences for the other person?

• Power: who has what power in the relationship? Who controls resources? Who stands to lose the most if agreement isn’t reached? What power does the other person have to deliver what you hope for?

• Possible solutions: based on all of the considerations, what possible compromises might there be?

Go give it a try, all they can say is no…

p.s. I thought this was funny…

A: Excuse me sir, may I talk to you?
B: Sure, come on in. What can I do for you?
A: Well sir, as you know, I have been an employee of this prestigious firm for over ten years.
B: Yes.
A: I won’t beat around the bush. Sir, I would like a raise. I currently have four companies after me and so I decided to talk to you first.
B: A raise? I would love to give you a raise, but this is just not the right time.
A: I understand your position, and I know that the current economic downturn has had a negative impact
on sales, but you must also take into consideration my hard work, pro-activeness and loyalty to this company for over a decade.
B: Taking into account these factors, and considering I don’t want to start a brain drain, I’m willing to offer you a ten percent raise and an extra five days of vacation time. How does that sound?
A: Great! It’s a deal! Thank you, sir!
B: Before you go, just out of curiosity, what companies were after you?
A: Oh, the Electric Company, Gas Company, Water Company and the Mortgage Company!

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