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If you increase your “ask rate,” or how often you request things, you will generally fare better. This often takes us off guard. From a persistent child to a harassing realtor, asking with greater frequency breaks down our “No” reserves. But the “ask rate” is more complex than simply constantly asking. Consider that most negotiations fail simply because people don’t ask for what they really want. They enter the transaction with assumptions and expectations. They assume the need or want is obvious. So how do we ask effectively?“The Ask” is not as simple as it may appear. Too high of an ask may show inexperience, insult, greed, naiveté, or unprofessionalism. Too low and you are negotiating against yourself. But do ask. Studies show that different genders have different ask rates with outcomes that are predictable. Higher ask rates lead to better performance. In practice this is simple. The author once had a conversation with a CEO of a publicly traded company, who said, “If an employee does not ask for a raise, he does not deserve one.”


That said, asking can also be as simple as it seems. For example: Negotiator 1: “The oil change will be $50.” Negotiator 2: “Can you take $10 off?” Negotiator 1: “No, but I can take $7 off.”


If this comes up, simply say no and be consistent. Communicate clearly what you do and do not want or what you are or are not willing to do.

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