Since it's Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and I'm talking about negotiations -- I'm repurposing last year's blog post about my mom because she's a beautiful, amazing Asian American woman and the best negotiator I know.
My mom was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She grew up across the street from a beautiful beach, and she would spend warm, Summer days swimming in the ocean. She's the eldest of 5, with two younger brothers and two younger sisters. Her mother, my grandmother (pictured below with my grandfather), is Taiwanese, as far back as they know. My grandfather's family was from the Szechuan region of China, so they love spicy foods (Szechuan peppers are pretty high up on the Scoville scale, about the same as habaneros). My mom thinks there's some Dutch ancestry somewhere, but she doesn't want to take a DNA test. I have taken one, and there wasn't any Dutch in me, however, there was a tiny percentage that was Iberian.
Now, I want to share what I've observed in my mom's master negotiating skills... First, my mom taught me that everything is negotiable! Whether she's shopping at a high-end designer store in Beverly Hills like Louis Vuitton or she's buying wild caught King Salmon at the Farmer's Market, she will always ask for a discount.
It embarrasses my brother sometimes, but I find it fascinating. There's not a place that's too "high end" or too "low end" to ask. She sees every situation equally, and what I have gathered, the person, on the other side, doesn't feel (energetically) that they need to "defend" their prices. Below...mom on the right, my grandmother on the left with my brother and me on my 2nd birthday:
Also, her philosophy is to always ask. There's no harm in it, and the worst they can say is no. (I agree with this philosophy and take it even one step further to say, I believe "no" is just the beginning of a conversation.)
Charm and sweetness are my mom's secret weapons. I'm always amazed, when car salesmen, after a tough day of negotiating and giving in to her demands, will turn to me and say, "Isn't your mom the cutest?"
She also becomes friends with pretty much everyone she knows. (Below is a more recent photo of her, second from the right, at my brother's wedding.)
Whether we're at the grocery store or at the Chanel boutique on Rodeo Drive, someone in the store will always greet her warmly, with a "Hi Grace! Have you seen our latest..." What I notice about this technique is -- we're all much more willing to give a discount to someone we know and like. There's a reason many companies have a "friends and family" discount.
This next one's trickier, for me, to do. My mom always examines clothes, cars, handbags, shoes or whatever she's buying, for subtle flaws. I think it comes down to values. I would rather not buy something with flaws, while if she thinks she can fix the flaw or if it's not that big of a deal to her, she'll ask for a discount, due to the flaw. However, in terms of negotiations, the lesson is to find a flaw, or a weak point in the argument, and you can use it to your advantage.
Finally, my mom comes from a place of abundance, rather than lack or scarcity, and 99.9% of the time, it works! She doesn't come from a place of "I need this discount or I can't afford it." Instead, it comes from a place of..."I don't need this so I'm willing to walk away from this sale, but it would be really lovely if I had it, and it would be even lovelier for you to have the honor of selling it to me!" I love this one because people respond to energy, and when the energy feels desperate, that's a turn off. She's got the upper hand because she doesn't need you or your product. In fact, she just made you want her as a customer even more.
Now, if you haven't yet heard, negotiating is one of my zones of genius. I'm really naturally good at it (thanks to my mom), and I have also put it into practice over and over again in my own career and life. I also love teaching it and training people how to do it, with real results, like this from my client P!
I'm not sharing the numbers, publicly, to protect her privacy. But essentially, she negotiated 32% higher than her highest rate ever! She also received her highest title yet. If you want to learn how to negotiate like my client did, my friend Malika Amandi, with the Center for Women's Voice, and I hard at work on a workshop to teach you everything we know to get YOU your highest rate and title too! Just click below to get signed up, so we can send you all of the details!
With so much Love & Gratitude (for my mom and all of the moms out there),