If you’re an introvert, negotiating can seem daunting to you. Whether it’s a price negotiation with a potential client or a salary negotiation with your employer – you might feel like you lack assertiveness and charisma and will never get what you deserve. As an introvert, you might simply feel like negotiation is not your strong suit. So how can you improve your negotiation skills as an introvert?
The truth is, introverts actually can negotiate! And it doesn’t even have to be difficult. They key is to make negotiations work in your own unique way, instead of pretending that you’re someone you’re not.
In this post, I share 6 tips to help you improve your negotiation skills as an introvert. And to further reassure you: they’ve really helped me, and negotiating really doesn’t come easily to me!
Know exactly what you want before starting the negotiation
Negotiating as an introvert requires preparation. You need to figure out exactly what you want, and what you’re not willing to settle for, in advance. This way, you’ll avoid asking for too much or accepting too little if the situation gets uncomfortable. And I assure you that you’ll be much calmer if you know exactly what to say!
First of all, you need to know your worth. And your competition! Whether you’re negotiating prices, conditions, or a salary, you need to do some market research and see what your competitors are doing. But don’t just ask for the same thing: if you believe that your work has more (or less) added value than what they offer, you need to adjust the pay.
The easiest way to prepare for negotiation as an introvert is to imagine the best possible outcome for you that is still reasonable for both parties. Then, determine the absolute minimum you would accept and still be happy about. You shouldn’t feel like you are underpaid! That will show in the quality of the work you deliver and will negatively impact your relationship with your client or employer.
Also, don’t over-explain why you want something. Be confident that this is what you deserve, and act like it doesn’t require further explanation. In these situations, saying less will make you appear more confident!
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
Sometimes, things can get a lot easier if you just ask for what you want. After all, nobody can guess if you don’t tell them!
You have to remember that everyone has their own interests in mind. You want the pay and conditions that you deserve. The other party is probably looking for high-quality work for the lowest price possible. Their goal is not to undercharge you, but rather to reduce their costs and accommodate the budget they received from their superior.
It’s important to keep this in mind and not take it personally if they try to lower your price. It doesn’t mean that they won’t pay you more – it’s just a test to see what kind of deal they can get. So instead of walking away from the opportunity or settling for low pay, kindly tell them what you expect.
If you politely make clear what your minimum is, you’re much more likely to get what you want. Even if they take a bit of time to reflect on it!
Don’t settle just because you feel uncomfortable
Negotiating with someone who doesn’t seem to agree with your conditions can get pretty uncomfortable. If you’re lucky, they’ll stay polite and explain their reasons. In other cases, they might try to make you feel unreasonable or even get disrespectful.
As introverts, we like to accommodate to get out of uncomfortable situations. But when it comes to negotiating, it’s important not to be a pushover.
I’ve been there multiple times. Especially when freelancing on platforms like UpWork, some clients expect you to work for ridiculous prices. After submitting my proposals, I’ve heard comments like “I hope you’re joking, you’ll never find a client at that rate” or “I hope you made a mistake when adding your price, you’re 10 times as expensive as other translators”. It’s not pleasant, but you have to see it positively: these are clients you don’t want in your portfolio, and they’re letting you know right away.
At other times, they’ll try to reason with you. They’ll tell you that they can’t, or don’t want to, pay you more or accept your conditions because of X or Y.
In any case, you should never settle for a proposal just to get out of an uncomfortable situation. After all, we can only grow if we get out of our comfort zone! You have done your market research, you have set your conditions based on the true value of your work. Accepting anything less than your minimum would cause you to regret your decision later – and that is not a good start for any business relationship.
So the next time you’ll start feeling uncomfortable because someone is challenging your rate, remember that if no one ever disagrees with your prices, it just means that you’re undercharging.
See the negotiation as a conversation
A negotiation seems less scary if you see it as a simple conversation between two parties. If they want to hire you for a job, you both need to share your conditions in order to find the perfect middle ground that will make everyone happy.
During a negotiation, try asking open-end questions to better understand the needs of the other party. If you know what they want, you can adapt your arguments – and know when to walk away from a deal because it will never work.
Also, you don’t have to reply right away. As introverts, we tend to hate awkward silence – but a pause is sometimes necessary to consider an offer someone just made you. Making a brief pause will also make you seem more confident and professional because you’re not blindly accepting or declining!
Seeing a negotiation as a conversation can really help you improve negotation skills as an introvert.
Be okay if you don’t get the job
Sometimes, you just can’t find a compromise that works for both parties. And that’s okay! All you need to do is kindly acknowledge that you’re unfortunately unable to meet each other’s requirements. Whenever this happens to me, I stay as nice and friendly as possible and invite them to contact me in the future if anything should change.
If you’re not convinced that it’s okay to walk away from potential client or employer, consider the following: if you walk into an Apple store and ask for a MacBook for 200€ because you don’t have the means to pay more, they’ll kindly decline. So why shouldn’t you be able to do the same? If your potential client is unable to pay a reasonable price for your work, they were never a potential client anyway.
It’s always better not to get a job than to get it and be unhappy with the conditions. There are other jobs and clients out there, even if it doesn’t seem like that at the time!
But even if you won’t be working with a client or employer, it’s important to always stay polite. Even when they say mean things to you! Be better than them, because the last thing you want is a bad reputation that could harm your future.
Don’t be surprised if clients come back after a while
Even if you weren’t able to find common ground in the first place, some clients will still come back to you.
It happened to me a couple of times. One time, a potential client requested that I lower my prices beyond what I thought to be reasonable. Once I had taken a step in their direction and lowered my rate to my absolute minimum, I didn’t hear back from them for over a week. Apparently, that’s how long it took them to discover that they wouldn’t find a better value for money elsewhere. After that, they suddenly replied with a signed proposal as if nothing ever happened.
Another time, a potential client refused to let me work from home. Since I need to manage my own time to accommodate multiple clients at the same time, (and because working from home just works better with my IBS, although I didn’t tell them that), I refused. Three months later, they not only contacted me again to tell me that I could work from home but also proposed a higher rate for the same job!
What goes for clients also goes for employers. Sometimes, they believe that they’ll find someone better for lower pay, only to discover that they want you after all.
I hope that these tips will help you improve your negotiation skills as an introvert! The key really is to be prepared, know exactly what you want and never make a hasty decision that you will regret afterwards.
Please let leave your experiences, tips or thoughts in the comments, I would love to know!