7 Negotiation Strategies Applied to Everyday Life

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7 Negotiation Strategies Applied to an Everyday Situation

Recently I went on an amazing mother daughter trip with my daughter after she graduated from CSULB.

CSULB GradWe went to the East Coast to visit family and have some fun. We went to Philadelphia, Washington DC, Jersey Shore area and New York City.


NYC Times square Liberty Bell









Central ParkDC

We flew into and out of Philadelphia. We had a great time visiting family and sights. We saw Phantom of the Opera in NYC, experienced the Holocaust Museum and Rolling Thunder Run For the Wall in DC plus other, The Liberty Bell in Philly and the “Rocky Steps” and the 911 Museum and Ellis Island plus Central park and much more.

We came back from NYC to where our rental car was parked at the train station in Jersey pretty late and got to a hotel at about midnight. It was an upscale hotel that I am a preferred member of their line of hotels.

I walked in to get a room, the person behind the counter finally got to me after taking several phone calls and told me she couldn’t book a room for me and that I had to go through reservations. She dialed the number and handed me the phone and the person at reservations said she couldn’t help me and would have to connect me to the front desk. I told the reservations person I was at the front desk and gave the phone to the front desk person to work it out with the reservation person. When the front desk person hung up she said no one could help me and basically dismissed me out the door.

I was too tired to think of how to fix that so I just walked away stunned at what had just transpired. It had to be some kind of a joke. It took me over an hour to find a room because most of them were sold out for the night. This hotel was not sold out, they had rooms, they just all refused to help me get a room for the night.

When I woke up the next morning and had a chance to process the events of the night before in a clear mind, I was not happy with the results and how I was treated. I thought about a course of action, what I wanted to happen as a resolution and called the corporate customer service line and reported what had happened. They documented the information, gave me a case number and said the manager from the hotel would contact me. They had verified that the hotel had rooms and were as perplexed as I was about what had happened. I asked if I would receive some kind of consideration for the issue and they indicated that would be up to the hotel.

The manager called an left a message and sent an email. It took me about a week to get him to reconnect with me after the initial contact. After finally speaking with him it seemed as though he assumed his “sorry that happened” email was all he wanted to say. He repeatedly told me the reservation person should have helped me and they should have told me to book a reservation online if the system was down. He never apologized for how his staff treated me other than to say “sorry that happened.”

When I asked for some consideration he said “you didn’t stay at the hotel so I can’t help you there.” Another moment of “you’ve got to be joking.” After several minutes of conversation I realized I was going to get nowhere with him so thanked him and told him I would take it up with the main corporate customer service line.

I contacted customer service, gave them my case number and after going over what happened again, I waited for her to check to see what she could do. All I wanted was some kind of consideration for what had happened to me. Something more than a “sorry that happened and go away now” attitude.

In the end I received some points added to my account, which is all I wanted anyway just as an acknowledgement for what had happened.

Why did I push the issue? Because I firmly believe people should be accountable for their actions in not providing excellent service. If we do not speak up, it gives them the ok to keep treating people badly. This is a 4 star hotel and I have been treated better at 2 star hotels.

Here are 6 strategies from the Think Like A Negotiator book that applied to this specific situation and how they actually apply and how you can use these strategies when you have an everyday life situation.

Everything Is Negotiable – This is the foundation of Think Like A Negotiator. Go in with the mindset that everything is negotiable before you start a discussion. This is usually why a discussion is started in the first place, because you have the mindset that everything is negotiable and you are aiming for a solution to a problem or resolution of some kind of a situation.

  1. EGADS You’ve Got to be Joking! – If I had not been so tired I would have thought to say these exact words while this was occurring. Most of the time it’s not the words but the tone of surprise. However, this was definitely an EGADS! situation on multiple levels. The insanity that no one could or would offer a solution to get me into a room when they clearly had rooms is asinine to say the least. The fact that I got the runaround from more than one person and that they seemed almost happy to not have a solution for me made it egregious to say the least. You can’t make this stuff up!
  2. Fair and Reasonable – nothing about this was fair and reasonable. When you make a decision about how to handle a situation, first bounce it against the logic of whether or not it was fair and reasonable. In this case it was way outside the realm of being fair to me or a reasonable situation as no solution was offered – basically I was told to just go away.
  3. Prepare In Advance – before I made the call to the customer service line I thought about what I wanted and what happened, what was said and how it all played out so I could answer any questions they had.
  4. Ask for Exactly What I Want – I wanted consideration of some sort. I didn’t say what it was that I wanted at first although I had an idea. I mentioned consideration in the email to the hotel front desk manager but he did not respond to that in my email. Instead he told me on the phone that was not possible since I didn’t stay at the hotel and had no intention of helping me beyond a simple “sorry that happened.”  He didn’t even say what would be done to ensure it didn’t happen again.
  5. Ask for Consideration – Consideration is a promise for a promise. For instance when I went to the hotel I asked for a room. They had rooms, they should have booked me into one and I would have paid. Their promise is to provide the room; my promise is to pay for the room. Promise for a promise. Basically they broke the promise by not fulfilling it as they had rooms and turned me away inappropriately. I felt based on the facts that this warranted some sort of consideration to rectify the problem. In other words something of value based on the amount of time I wasted there and the hour plus to actually find a room.
  6. In the end I was awarded several thousand points on my account. They offered me very close to what I thought was reasonable. I was happy to get close to what I wanted and decided to take it. I could have countered with what I wanted but decided that I was satisfied with getting something that sounded reasonable to me.

By this example you can see how the negotiation strategies work in an everyday life situation. This would also work in business, employment, relationships, any area of life.

I did say 7 strategies didn’t I? So #7 is also about owning your power, and is one of the foundational strategies in becoming a master negotiator.  Many people would have not wanted to speak up or simply let it go.  Some because they didn’t want to hassle with it, some because they didn’t think they would get anything for their trouble.  Owning your power means standing up for yourself and to give feedback to people when they offer services way below standards.

The most important thing to take away here is keeping in mind that everything is negotiable when you think like a negotiator and to speak up when these kinds of situations occur.  I am sure that hotel will think again before they turn someone away.

Keep on Thinking Like A Negotiator!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez



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 www.EldonnaLewisFernandez.com


  1. tom mark says:

    Over the past ten years or so, many companies especially hotel and even more so rental agencies have not treated their customers well. It seems they have taken their cues from this country’s government. They have seen how this government has pushed the American people around so much without any significant push back from anyone including political representatives of the people and I think that there is an assessment that the average customer is an easy push over who can be dismissed easily and will go away quietly without incident.

    We have all known for many years that nearly all companies have abandoned the policy that the customer is always right in favor of the policy that the company is always right if it chooses to be right. I also think that corporate has an attitude of customer intolerance and it is reflected in their staff customer training modules which is why as a last resort, customers have to call corporate to almost beg for assistance in getting results that should have been handled by the jerk at the counter.

    So it is very important for consumers to always be prepared prior to an encounter with any company representative to expect a degree of difficulty in receiving a desired result.

    In your unfortunate encounter I think the counter jerk pulled a power play because she felt she could based on what she assessed about you as a person. She knew she was in control and had the power to convey a room but she chose not to and I think that her training, her knowledge of corporate attitude and her previous experiences of getting away with the same scenario with other guests invited you to be her next kick out.

    What I try to do if I’m going to use a service of a hotel or rental agency is to know a name of a corporate V.P. at the corporation “palace” in the event I have to use it when I’m getting the shaft from a counter clerk. I ‘ll usually say ” would you like me to call Mr. —— and go over this problem about not finding me a room when I know you have rooms available! That reminder usually sparks a better response.

    One power play deserves another! By the way, I would get a letter on file to corporate about the incident. Make it addressed to the top CEO with follow ups to that same CEO. from time to time. I’ve had some really good results in doing that.


    • Eldonna Fernandez says:

      Thanks for your comment Tom. It’s really becoming a problem with getting good service anymore. I always push back in some way. These are great suggestions!

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