It’s not surprising to read that women don’t like to negotiate, not just their salaries, but anything. According to Carnegie Mellon Professor Linda Babcock, coauthor of “Women Don’t Ask” and Ask For It,” women equate the process of negotiating to “going to the dentist.”

Until I met my husband, I hardly ever tried negotiating…I felt bad about it. Which is funny because if I really think about it, I was feeling bad for people, who in most cases, wanted to take more of my money than they should have been entitled to. And in the case of women and negotiating salaries, it is almost the same as feeling bad about asking for the equivalent of what our male-counterparts are getting.

Frankly, I think a lot of men simply enjoy negotiating, it’s similar to winning a game for them. But I have come a long way in the last 10 years, at least in the non-salary related areas. I have successfully negotiated lower prices or eliminated a cost altogether…simply by asking.

For example,

  • Cable bill
  • Credit card rates
  • Credit card late fees
  • Numerous delivery charges
  • Estimates for various work done on our house

I think what has worked for me is to think, “What is the worst that can happen?”  They might just say no, but at least you will know. And more often than not, they are accustomed to negotiating with clients, so you’re not overstepping your boundaries in any way.

Still, I have to admit that negotiating is sometimes a very intimidating process and I think many women feel the same. We recently leased a new car and I left that negotiation to my husband. I still remember about 2 years ago, ABC NEWS did a fascinating (but I guess not too surprising) story about how some car dealerships and salesmen treat women differently than they treat men.

We are already at a disadvantage walking in, so it’s definitely prudent to do your research and never agree to the first offer. Maybe someday I will muster enough courage to negotiate bigger ticket items, such as my next car or job!

Tell us, what was the last thing you negotiated? How did you do it and how did it feel?