I took the weekend off and threw myself into wedding planning. And I was in more of a digging/researching/calling mode, and less of a storytelling mode.
In light of this, I'm putting of the asking challenge deadline by one more day. So if you haven't asked yet -- to give or get money, in any amount -- go for it on Monday! And share your stories at this link.
Ok. So, back to Thursday...
I called a hotel to ask about discounted rates for wedding guests. I'd gone once before and talked to the manager, and he told me to call back and they'd set up a good rate.
First, I asked what the discount would be if I reserved rooms for a small group for two nights.
"We can do 10 percent off."
"I see. Well, when I came by to visit the manager told me he would give me a great rate. What if the group were bigger -- like, 30 or 40 people?"
"Still 10 percent."
"Really? I'm wondering if there's any way we could work better something out, maybe if we rented it for more than 2 nights? Some people are coming for a longer time and I'm also trying to find housing for them."
"10 percent off is the max."
"Not even if I rented out the whole hotel, or rented it for more than 2 nights?! What if I rented out the whole place for a week?"
"No. That is our group rate."
Suddenly the collaborative, consensus building nice girl slinked away and out came the bedouin camel trader. With suspenders.
"I'd like to bring you business, a lot of business -- possibly rent out your whole hotel for several nights, but you've got to give me a better price. Ten percent is not good enough. I want to bring you tens of thousands of dollars of business and all you're give me is ten percent? I need a better rate to make this work. What is the best rate you can give me? It has to be better than 10 percent off."
"No, that is our summer discount."
He had a point. Summer = big bucks for San Diego beachfront hotels, which this was.
But now I have a point: As I spoke my mind, I felt kind of a rush. I felt like I was making a great proposition: I bring you clients for a whole week, and you give me a better than standard discount. I felt secretly impressed that I sounded the way I've heard some men talking into their cell phones: confident, trading millions with the click of a button or an imperious bark. "You have to do better. I'm not budging unless you come down to 2...Then you can keep waiting...I'm not playing around...I don't care!!...No. Get your numbers straight and stop wasting my time. 2! I said 2!!!!!!! Ok. Get back to me in 30."
The hotel employee was utterly disinterested by both my friendly and tough approaches, but I wonder if I'd been a man -- would he have been more open to that hard negotiation style?
After my year of daily asking, I found out that when I took the wheeling and dealing approach (W 'n' D, below) I was not very successful. In fact, I was even more successful I was a total, all out bitch. When I tried to be a cool confident brash negotiator, people recoiled. (More analysis here.)
I'm tempted to try one more time, not for the discount but to test if
- approaching him in person
- establishing rapport
- learning about his objectives (maximize profits? fill hotel room quota? get better travelocity ratings?) and
- asking in a warmer 'feminine' way
Gained: a glimpse of myself as a ballsy wheeler-n-dealer
Lost: belief that it's the right approach for me. darn! it was kind of fun!!
Friday through Sunday posts, coming Monday. Now: zzzz.