We are often told that the best way to get your way is to be a squeaky wheel. Whenever you encounter an opportunity to ask for a refund, barter for a better deal, or talk to a customer service rep you are making a choice. You want to get what you want, but what is the best way to go about it? You can choose to go in guns a-blazing, demanding what you want and being a jerk in the process. When we talk with a nameless faceless customer service rep on the phone we are detached from the consequences of what we do and say. 

We all know those who have treated people in their way as less than people. Back in 2015 Britt McHenry an ESPN reporter was caught on camera doing just that, in case you forgot how terrible we can sometimes be to one another (warning explicit language):

McHenry faced a similar decision as we all do, but she chose her response poorly. She didn’t see a person in front of her, just someone trying to take some of her money and time. Needless to say she chose poorly (forgive the shameless Indiana Jones reference and included gif)

Thou hast chosen poorly

We often do the same thing, even though we might not be quite so terrible. In those situations we encourage you to chose a different tactic, graciousness. Ask a couple of simple questions including “is there anything you can do to help me?” Make a human connection with the person you interact with. When you choose to treat people like people, you tend to get what you want. Whether it is asking for a refund or a discount on something you want to buy. Getting what you want starts with graciousness.

Educate Yourself & Ask Good Questions

If you are asking for something you want to make sure you have a reason for asking. If you ask for a ridiculous or outlandish deal you are unlikely to get it. Knowledge is crucial when you try to barter or ask for a concession. If you find yourself in a situation where you know you are in the right, don’t act that way. For example if you are negotiating an overdraft fee for a bank account. If you know that you are entitled to a few overdraft refunds each year rather than simply stating this fact I ask it in the form of a question “isn’t there part of our agreement that stipulates…” If you want to get what you want you need to know what you are after, be well prepared and ask questions rather than make declarative statements. Don’t go in trying to negotiate for something without knowing everything about what you are asking for and why you should have it, and ask educated direct questions that lead toward the outcome you are hoping for.

Be A Good Winner… Or Loser

Finally, and most importantly be a good winner or loser. In some instances the person you are trying to get something from is someone you won’t ever interact with again, but often that isn’t the case. In the workplace you always want to leave a good impression after you ask for something because each of those interactions is an investment for a future ask. If you ask for a raise, don’t get it and act bitter afterwards you can kiss that next raise goodbye. Whether you win or lose, remember that not getting what you want today can lead to getting what you want tomorrow, if you keep your cool.

Readers, any advice for how to get what you want? We all have situations that we hope go our way, any suggestions on how to make it happen?