Ask For Exactly What I Want

Negotiation Language – How You Say It Affects It
April 30, 2013
Fair and Reasonable
June 9, 2013

Ask. It’s simple right? Ask for what you want? Many times we simply don’t ask and if you don’t ask you don’t get. Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you are not going to take the shot, the opportunity or whatever is before you, you will miss out on many things in your life. Many times we don’t ask out of fear. The fear of rejection or the fear of hearing the word “no. “ Rejection is never personal. When I was a Mary Kay® consultant I was petrified to ask for fear of getting rejected. I got into Mary Kay® to get over my fear of speaking in front of people, but I had a bigger fear that I had to overcome, the fear of hearing “no.”

Negotiation is confrontational to many people I have worked with. They feel like they should not ask or don’t have the confidence to stand up for themselves. The first way to work on this is to develop a better relationship with yourself. If you have a great relationship with yourself, chances are you feel confident and secure in who you are. Oprah Winfrey said “if you to the work you will eventually become what I call a [person] who is in complete possession of [themselves].” When you’ve done the work, the confidence allows you the power to as Debbie Allen says “get your ask on.”

Let’s talk a moment about asking for consideration for poor or substandard service. Recently I was at Craig Duswalt’s 3 day Rockstar Mastermind event at a hotel on “LAX row.” I chose to valet park all 3 days. I chose to pay a little more than the parking lot for the convenience to walk into the hotel and get my car quickly. I needed to be able to get out of there quickly in the evening because I had other events I had to attend.

On the second day I went out to get my car. It took 30 minutes to get my car! I could have walked to the other paid parking lot in half the time. They had only one guy working because they made everyone else go to a staff meeting. Not sure who thought it was a bright idea to have a meeting at the busiest time of the day when everyone was getting out of the events being held at the hotel. I waited at least 10 minutes to pay someone along with several other people.

There were so many driverless valet cars stacked up in the front of the hotel that they couldn’t even bring my car up. The only guy working started moving all the cars around. The airport shuttle couldn’t even get through. I had to go get my car in the valet parking lot so I could get out of there. I could not drive through the hotel so had to back up around the valet parking lot to get out another way. By this time almost 30 minutes had elapsed since I had walked out of the hotel. I ended up being late to get my daughter for an event because of it.

When I came back the third day, I intended to ask for consideration for the substandard service from the day before. I asked when I went to pay on the third day and the guy behind the counter referred me to his manager. I explained the situation to him. He indicated there was a problem because everyone was in a mandatory staff meeting and they left only one guy to handle it all. He indicated they already discounted the rate 50% off the normal rate for the event. I agreed that they did but reminded him that the discount applied to the service I’m expected to get. I should not have to pay that price for substandard service. He agreed to give me a discount, which equated to $2.30 off the price.

Some people ask me why I do that. Why do I say anything at all? It makes some people uncomfortable and feels confrontational to others. The main reason I ask for consideration from substandard service isn’t about getting something free or at a reduced rate. That’s secondary. The reason I do it is because there is a level of complacency in this country that makes me sick to my stomach. If we accept substandard service and say it’s ok by not speaking up, we give them to ok to continue that level of service.

Now I need to interject a word about how you express your dissatisfaction. It is not ok to belittle, defame or rip someone apart. It’s important to be direct and firm. Please ensure it is not insulting. I see too many times when someone rips someone else apart for making a mistake. We are all human, mistakes happen; we just need to let those in business know that their mistake is not ok with us and not only do they need to do something to make sure it doesn’t happen again, they also need to give us some consideration for our having experienced it. Don’t go using social media to tear someone down. Do it in private if you can and do it with respect. Praise in public, correct in private should be the rule to follow in most cases.

The Air Force core values that I still live by today are Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in all we do. Take the last one. Excellence in all we do. That is not the core value of many businesses and even employees today. Many operate in mediocrity. Do the minimal to get by and that’s ok. We owe it to ourselves to totally stand up and let people know when their service is below standards. If we don’t then that makes it ok for them to keep giving mediocre service. Mediocrity and complacency will destroy free enterprise. Take on the core value of “Excellence in all we do” and be sure to ask for exactly what you want

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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