Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Let's make a deal: man haggles for hot dogs and more in negotiation experiment

One journalist haggles for hot dogs in negotiation experimentIn impressing on their students the importance of acquiring negotiation skills, trainers will often say, "You may not realize it, but you're always negotiating. It doesn't matter whether you're asking your boss for a raise or figuring out where to have dinner with your spouse. You're negotiating, my friend."

I know--I've said this to rooms full of people myself. Judging from the numerous heads nodding in agreement, many people accept this as true. However, I don't think anyone ever acts as if they really believe it.

But what if in fact that were the case? What if you truly believed that everything--and I do mean everything-- is open to negotiation?

Author Tom Chiarella decided to test this premise during the course of a three-month experiment. He writes about his experience in "Haggling for Hot Dogs", an article that appears in Esquire. Lessons learned include "Never let them know how much you have to spend. Draw people into your life. Show your personality. Learn people's names. Work your way up to the person who has a stake in the sale and the power to make a deal." Also, don't "think of money as the only thing...to offer. I found that trading favors proved relatively easy."