Sample Essay on Negotiation

The negotiation over the price of an object or service is one that can be influenced through a variety of means. Price tags never seem to be set in only one absolute number, yet one is always quoted, especially when they are in the setting of policies, such as insurance, which never have a bottom line. This was the philosophy I took in my thoughts while preparing and going into the O’Connell Insurance Agency on Saturday morning last week. I realized after talking to my sister, who herself is a fairly novice and naive negotiator, that one gains success through initiating and stirring the process, and excepting there is much room for change. So, off I set to O’Connell to negotiate a new price for my yearly homeowner’s insurance policy.

Prior to the actual day of negotiating, I knew that I needed to prepare. In my current life, I am determined to make my time and efforts count for something worthy, therefore, not preparing prior to the meeting would not be tolerated. I knew that an ill-prepared discussion would not get my goal accomplished and make me feel uncomfortable. Preparation would be the best way to thoroughly allow for a deal that would satisfy both parties and continue a long lasting relationship.

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Coming up with a price range was my first priority. I was basing my new range on the estimates I gathered from the other insurance agencies that I visited. I wanted a basis for comparison, so I recalculated the estimated worth of my assets, and set out to other insurance agencies in the local area to compare prices and see what deals were willing to be made. I primarily wanted a better deal for myself, so anything better than other quoted price was technically going to satisfy. I got an array of prices ranging from $375 to $500 for the year coverage. This included an upgrade I wanted to make to account for new furniture I had purchased since I first bought my condo about one and a half years ago. Currently, my yearly homeowner’s insurance is approximately $280 without the upgrade taken into consideration. I was willing to go $100 to $150 higher than my original price of $280 to account for a discounted upgrade.

My primary goals during the negotiation process were to have mutual gains by both parties, although I wanted the scale to be tipped toward my side. I wanted to keep them for an insurance agency and gain a deal that would help my personal budget, and I assumed they wanted to maintain my good business. My BATNA was to just leave their agency and take my business elsewhere if a deal wasn’t made in my favor. I felt I had the upper hand in the negotiation seeing as I am a trustworthy customer the one who needed to be satisfied.

As I walked down the street of South Boston, I mentally reviewed my expert plan. While the preparation phase proved to be educational and motivating, the reality that the plan could be botched came relevant. Some second-guessing came around when I neared the front window, and I thought “was I really ready to try doing this?” I knew that I was already a veteran patron through years of car insurance, renters insurance, and a couple years of homeowners insurance, so I knew I had some supportive ties to the company already in place. I also thought to myself that seeing I live in a metropolitan area, where insurance agencies are a “dime a dozen”, and I wasn’t satisfied with any deal, I could get insurance coverage easily and quickly elsewhere in the local area. The thing that O’Connell wasn’t fully aware of was that I enjoyed their trusting and quality service along with the local convenience.

There I was, about to speak my words of wisdom. I started with an innocent, calm voice questioning the policies and their room for flexibility. I initiated the conversation with Ms. O’Brien given it was I who was looking for the change to take place. I explained that I needed to upgrade my current plan to account for newly acquired assets I obtained, yet given the economy and my cost of living in a job without a raise for two years, I needed a break on price. I also reminded her gently that I had been carrying my car insurance policy through their agency for years, she nodded in an understanding gesture and stated she remembers that fact. During this talk I spoke calmly looking straight into Ms. O’Brien’s eyes trying to let her know that I needed to be understood looking for some empathy. After all, she knows that I run my T-passes into the office for a measly $60 car insurance discount immediately each October, so she must understand where I was coming from. It turns out she did in some respects, but not fully understanding what I was after in this talk. I further explained that I had checked into a few other area insurance agencies, because insurance policies are complex, and I was trying to learn as much as I could prior to figuring out what I needed for coverage and price. This didn’t seem to surprise her one bit, so I figured that she must know of the competitive environment. She sat silent for a moment, then stated she could do an upgrade for $425 at a discounted price and quoted $350. I was quite surprised to have that low price so early, and felt the urge to accept. In case I was closing the deal too early, I asked her if this was a standard price for a deal they make to regular customers. She stated that these deals have been made in the past rarely, mainly due to the fact that not many people ask for a discount. I got the sense she was proud of me for initiating the negotiation and wanted to come to a mutual agreement. She then stated that she was aware of the current conditions, and that their company mission is to best serve their customers, especially those patrons who are longstanding and local residents. I felt sold at that moment, kept my calm demeanor, and stated that the quoted price of $350 would serve my interests and budget nicely.

Finally, I felt a sense of relief once hands were shook, and air seemed to refill my lungs. I had learned much about myself and how one’s demeanor plays a part in negotiating. I feel I was successful because I was prepared. My calm disposition and fully prepared plan deemed to be successful for both parties. I knew I had the upper hand in the negotiation however, and that may have formulated my attitude. In the end we both seemed satisfied with the deal that was made, so I felt my goals were accomplished for both parties without resorting to my BATNA.

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