The Best Word to Use While Negotiating Anything


Occasionally, the skill of human connection involves negotiation.

For example…

I have a nine year old daughter and a six year old daughter…

There is a lot of negotiation that goes on in my house. And we haven’t even entered the teenage years yet. (But let me tell you, nine is the new thirteen!)

There is also a surprising amount of negotiation that happens in our daily interactions with adults. Whether it’s a vendor, a supplier, a boss, a car salesperson, or a spouse, a little negotiation skill goes a LONG way.

Personally, this one little word saves me thousands of dollars each year (sometimes more), AND makes people feel better about doing business with me. It might be a free fountain drink at Subway, or it might be a few thousand dollars off of a new car. Either way, the word is the same.

Once, before I knew about it, a real estate agent used it against me. I suggested an offer, she said the word and immediately I raised my offer $30,000. THIRTY GRAND in about five seconds of work! She made a whole lot more in commission just by saying one stupid word. (Nah, I’m not bitter at all…)

So what’s the word?

It’s “ouch”.

Right after a vendor gives you the quote, no matter what it is, you’re going to wince, suck air through your teeth and say, “Ouch!”

The delivery is just as important as the word. Don’t be afraid to let the pain show. Then, after you say it, shut up and wait for them to talk next. (They will. That silence is suffocating.)

If they don’t immediately come down in price, they might say something like, “I’m sorry ma’am, but that’s our standard fee.”

That’s when you come back with another one. “Ouch…Well at that price, I’m sure it includes free centerpieces, right?”

“Actually, centerpieces are going to be extra.”

“Ouch! Well, what DOES it include?”

You may not get them to drop their price, but you’re almost certain to get something extra thrown in. Just by taking a few seconds to say a simple magic word. Do that every chance you get and you’ll find that you add BIG money to your bottom line over the course of a year. That’s why I always say that human connection is NOT a soft skill.

So, what do you think? Simple, right? Who wouldn’t want to put more money in their pocket just by saying one word? It’s brilliant!

…And – you’re probably thinking – horribly manipulative.

I get it. I’m not only a shy person, I’m also passive by nature. That’s almost the worst possible combination if you want to develop negotiating prowess. (The absolute worst negotiator is a chronic, compulsive people-pleaser.) I used to pay whatever price anyone put in front of me without questioning anything. Or, if I ever DID try negotiating, I got my butt kicked by a real estate agent who actually knew what she was doing.

Why am I now 100% sold on the “ouch” technique? Why do I use it every single chance I get? Why am I teaching it to you right now?

Here’s why…

Imagine you’re selling your car. Someone shows up to your house, walks around your car and asks, “How much?”

You come back with, “$6,500.”

“Okay,” they say as they immediately pull out a wad of one hundred dollar bills and peel off sixty five.

How do you feel?

You feel like you could have gotten more, right? You regret the transaction immediately, don’t you? Sounds like a bad case of seller’s remorse.

Using “ouch,” on the other hand, not only gets people to come down in price or throw in extra goodies, but it also makes them FEEL better about the transaction. It makes them feel like they got the absolute best possible deal. It removes the otherwise inevitable seller’s remorse.

The lessons here are simple:

  1. NEVER assume something is not negotiable.
  2. ALWAYS wince and say the magic word “ouch” whenever price is mentioned – in order to make them feel like they won the negotiation.

Don’t worry. At the end of the day, no one will ever agree to a deal that doesn’t make sense for them. So don’t be shy about using “ouch” when negotiating.

What’s YOUR best negotiation tip? COMMENT BELOW!

3 thoughts on “The Best Word to Use While Negotiating Anything

    1. Tim David Post author


      Great question. You’re right. Because the delivery is important, this technique doesn’t work as well in an email. Instead, try this approach:

      “We like your proposal, but another vendor has also made an appealing offer. I wanted to extend you a courtesy notice in case there is anything you can do to get closer to our budget before we contract with them.”

  1. John Micheletti

    I always used the word “WOW”….I like “OUCH” even more.

    Wow!!!that price obviously includes all maintience services and floor-mats right???
    Oh and I think you forgot to apply the rebates and customer loyalty discount.

    Try that one next time!!! Always gets the most seasoned car salesperson looking for their manager quick!


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