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Why You Should Bring Donuts to a Salary Negotiation (and 3 Other Negotiating Techniques That Work)

Topics: Negotiation
negotiating techniques

A big part of a successful salary negotiation is rapport building. Some rapport-building techniques may seem manipulative … because they are. They also work. People are more likely to negotiate in a less aggressive fashion and give you a better deal when you encourage them, in subtle ways, to like you.

Try these negotiating techniques and see if they make a difference:

1. Utilize Self-Disclosure

Disclosing some personal details builds rapport and makes you seem likable. When you offer personal details, you make a connection. People are likely to give you more if they like you. They may also feel obligated to disclose a little about themselves, leading to a more personal and less aggressive negotiation.

2. Bring Donuts

Give something for free. Reciprocity is an important principle of persuasion. When you perform favors for people — even unsolicited favors — they become substantially more likely to “return the favor.” It may sound too cute, but it works. Research supports that others will “return the favor” even if the recipient never becomes aware of the favor. Therefore, bringing donuts gives you an edge during the negotiation, and may even give you additional perks in the future.

Why donuts? Well, really, any treat will do. (Even fruit, if you insist.) Treats are helpful, because hangry is a real thing. Many people get grumpy or behave aggressively when their blood glucose drops. The opposite has also been shown to be true, increasing glucose levels reduces aggressive tendencies. So, bringing donuts and coffee to a morning negotiation helps you negotiate by decreasing tendencies for aggressive negotiation in the other person.

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3. Be Powerful

Ask for what you want, and don’t sound weak or use disclaimers. People receive better deals when they convey power and confidence. Stand up straight and don’t apologize or use disclaimers such as “would you even consider…?”

Part of being powerful is having other opportunities or alternatives. Don’t be afraid to mention them as part of your negotiation. Negotiators who are perceived to have alternatives will be considered more attractive negotiation partners and will more easily reach an agreement. For example, when you are made an offer, ask how it will different from another offer you have received — be honest and specific.

4. Practice … Especially If You’re a Woman

More women than men “feel a great deal of apprehension” before negotiating. This results in women paying more for things such as cars. Worse, it results in women earning less money than they could potentially earn. Advice specifically for women includes making a commitment to negotiate in the first place. Then, practice. Practice with a friend. Practice at a craft fair or farmer’s market. The more you do something, the easier it gets.

Finally, never stop negotiating until you hear “no.” If you haven’t heard “no,” you haven’t asked for enough.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s your favorite negotiating trick? We want to hear from you. Share your techniques in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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