Photo: Flickr / mllynge
Sometimes being personable is all it takes to land a great deal. Just ask Stuart Diamond, author of the excellent handbook on negotiation strategies, Getting More.
In the book, Diamond recounts what happened when a lawyer named Ruben asked a shopkeep whether he’d be eligible for an American Bar Association discount at Hertz without his membership ID. Just minutes prior, he’d been chatting up the shopkeep, who he noticed was pregnant, about raising a family.
She seemed fairly receptive, smiling and nodding, but he only realised just how receptive she was when she wound up giving Ruben a 30% discount—and overriding corporate policy in the process. All it took was being friendly for Ruben to get a sweet deal on his two-day rental.
Something as simple as belonging to the same organisation or social circle, overcoming similar obstacles or having a similar taste in style are all ways to forge a connection and make someone see you as more than a customer brandishing a credit card. It might seem simple, and it is, but in the day-to-day rush of our days, it’s useful skill to keep in mind.
“Connecting with someone, sharing a bit about myself, and asking more about them, made a HUGE difference,” said one shopper Diamond interviewed, who received a massive discount at J.Crew.
Here’s another example (emphasis ours): “Carlos Vasquez simply gave Jane, a store manager, his business card and said he was an Xbox fan. He wanted a 10% discount. He got a 40% discount. ‘It’s the personal connection,’ said Carlos, a Goldman Sachs vice president.”