The University of Texas at Austin
  • Stop negotiating with yourself

    By John Daly, guest blogger for the McCombs School of Business
    John Daly, guest blogger for the McCombs School of Business
    Published: April 9, 2010
    John Daly

    This article originally appeared in the McCombs Today blog.

    You’ve long wanted to buy a really nice car — say, a new Mercedes. Next year, your firm has a fabulous year. (Why not? It could happen.) Soon after the announcement of the “great year,” your boss strolls into your office, congratulates you for being a key contributor and hands you a $30,000 bonus (taxes are, of course, taken care of). That evening, you’re driving home. As you pass the Mercedes dealership, you spy the car of your dreams with a $45,000 price tag on the window. What do you do?

    Most people motor right by. “I don’t have $45,000,” they think. “The dealer would never sell that car for a third less than the listed price.”

    Really? How do they know that? Maybe the dealership hasn’t sold a car for three weeks. And, it’s the end of the month. Perhaps a new model arrives next week and the dealer must clear the floor. Who knows?

    What do savvy people do instead? They walk in and say, “Want to sell me that car? I’ll give you $30,000 right now. Deal?”

    What’s the worst that could happen? The salesperson might laugh and escort you out. Who cares? But if you don’t ask, I absolutely guarantee you that you won’t get that car.

    Many people negotiate too much with themselves. Rather than going after their dreams, they construct a medley of reasons why they shouldn’t have what they deserve. You know you merit a raise. But rather than asking, you come up with all sorts of reasons why your boss can’t give you one — the company is having a tough time, other people deserve raises more than you, the boss is a tightwad. Stop thinking that way. Instead, lay out for the boss what you want and why.

    Successful people will tell you that a secret of their success is that they ask for what they want and deserve. Your firm is opening an office in Zurich. If you want to run that office, why not ask for the position? Maybe your boss’s eyes will light up and she’ll say you’d be perfect. You’re at a crowded party and spy an extraordinarily attractive stranger across the room. Why not walk over and introduce yourself? Who knows, the person may be looking for someone just like you.

    Stop negotiating with yourself.


    Professor John Daly from the College of Communication and the McCombs School of Business has won 11 teaching awards as well as a number of prestigious research honors, including being one of only 50 scholars in the world named a Fellow of the International Communication Association.

    • Quote 2
      Fuel Cards said on June 13, 2011 at 7:53 a.m.
      It is very true that most people are shy or so to say they are not confident of their own presence and individuality. If you have the confidence and grace to look the other person in his eyes and tell him point-blank about what you need then the chances of being successful are definitely higher than just thinking over and over again. I guess, this is the quality of winners. They know what they need and they know how to communicate what they need. Stop thinking about what others think of you and be a crisp communicator.
    • Quote 2
      Kristine said on April 29, 2011 at 7:20 a.m.
      People must know how to negotiate to others, they must be confident enough on doing this. We should work on it well to be able to achieve something., everything is definitely right in this article. :)
    • Quote 2
      Earthquake Survivor kit said on April 14, 2011 at 7:59 p.m.
      Thank you for sharing this one,yes your are right..we can't achieved something if we don't try to do so...your article contain great reality.
    • Quote 2
      Steve said on April 1, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.
      The problem why most people don't negotiate is because they are simply shy to do so. Why? Because in today's world we are not brought up with that. Today we are going to shopping malls where everything has a fixed price. Traditional markets (like the food market in some old town) do simply not exist anymore. People that run their own business are more used to negotiate and are therefore more likely to do so. But think of the average person working in an office - and buying in a shopping mall. They never get into an enronment where negotiation if something normal. And when they do they don't know how to approach it - like the geek who has never tried to ask a girl out they will shy away from making the move to negotiate and therefore miss out on many bargains and opportunities.
    • Quote 2
      Clarence said on April 19, 2010 at 12:07 p.m.
      Thank you for such an inspiring article. I believe that in the difficult economic times that many people now have experienced, this article contains a message of the true essence of self worth.
    • Quote 2
      Lauren said on April 17, 2010 at 10:31 a.m.
      Thank you so much for publishing this article. I read it in the nick of time. Sometimes you need to hear reassuring things because you forget.
    • Quote 2
      Shannon said on April 14, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.
      It never hurts to ask. That is my motto. I've gone a long way on this style of thinking.
    • Quote 2
      Diana Welsch said on April 12, 2010 at 10:35 a.m.
      All great salespeople learn these things but it takes a lot of chutzpah to negotiate a car purchase $15,000 below sticker and most people can't get past the fear factor. Fun article.
    • Quote 2
      DrApril said on April 12, 2010 at 10:24 a.m.
      I think going after your dreams by asking for you want is useful. Just make sure you can back it up with good reasoning. I hope no reader thinks getting a nice expensive car is a measure of successful or the price range they should spend on a call. The last thing I want to see is this article creates another spender instead of saver.
    • Quote 2
      Julie said on April 11, 2010 at 3:56 p.m.
      As a practicing Physician/Mother, I always appreciate those aha moments for myself and my children..... Thanx for providing me for this opportunity of thought... to pass on to my partners and my children....
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