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November 07, 2011

Annual performance review time? Read this before you meet with your boss


Lisa Gates has a powerful new post up at Forbes

She tells the story of a woman who obtains a few choice concessions at work by asking for them -- telecommuting and bigger, better responsibilities. But then, as soon as you can say "annual performance review," her boss decides things aren't working out and takes back those perks. He also tables the discussion of her raise.

Before you call him a jerk, consider what the employee should have done differently. Here's Gates's post. At the end she provides a script for how the situation should have unfolded. 

Have you turned a "no" into a "yes" at work? Care to share any tips with the rest of us?

Back to car negotiations in the next post.

November 03, 2011

How I almost spent too much on a car I didn't want

I write to you as the proud owner of a...

1995 Nissan Maxima.

That's right. After a day of test drives and dealer chats, and several weeks of research and calculations, I drove away last Saturday from a Toyota dealership with my old car... and a big load off my shoulders. I started the day sure I'd buy a car, or at least come very close. What went wrong? It was a combination of 3 things:

1. I didn't get the price I wanted.
2. I didn't get the price I wanted.
3. I didn't get the price I wanted.

Mr. A and I visited four dealerships, test driving and talking numbers: Hyndai, Honda, VW and Toyota. Some salesmen were eager to negotiate, and others were as starchy as their shirt collars. The day ended in a Toyota showroom, where negotiations broke down over a big comfy Camry and we were invited into the sales manager's office for one last attempt.

"So you've been here for HOURS, TRYING to buy a car," the manager said, like the high school principal who pops in on detention challenging his problem students to behave. Drained, disgusted, but institutionally trained to persevere.

"Oh, and here I thought you were trying to sell us a car," Mr. A answered. Good one, amore!

"I see there's a difference of (he looked down, calculating)... of $500 between the figure you wrote down and what we're asking. Over the life of the car, that's $7 per month. Now you're a coffee drinker, right?"

"I am," I answered.

"So give up two lattes a month! You want to walk away over $7! That's NOTHING!"

"If it's nothing, why don't you go for the price we wrote here?" I asked, pointing to the figure.

"I'm giving you a great deal here."

"Not good enough."

"I'm not going any lower. That's my final offer."

Thoughts raced. Should I go for it? Was it a good price? It was so close to the price I told them I wanted. But it didn't feel right. Was I wrong? We'd gotten them to drop from $23,500 to $19,500. But the car had some features I didn't want, which I'd still be paying for. And it was a 2011 model, which I was confident another dealer would be willing to offload for less as next year's cars arrive. And, between you and me, I wasn't really into that car. Not enough to deserve spluring.

"Thanks but no thanks."

We walked out and I suddenly felt liberated. I had come this close to buying a car with features I didn't want for more than I wanted to spend.

Five minutes later, he called back offering to lower the price by $250. I passed.

In the next post, a few reflections, resources and suggestions.