A Lesson in Negotiation

Time Warner Cable Building

This is my first new blog post in a long while. Trying to get back on the horse. First up is just some thoughts about one of those necessary evils in life in America: dealing with my internet provider.

I get my home internet through Time Warner Cable. I personally have found that at modest speeds, cable broadband is more reliable than DSL and in my home town of Asheboro, NC, if you want internet faster than 10Mbs (1Mbs up), TWC is your only choice.

My first year promotional pricing just expired and thus my internet bill went up. A lot. As in a 75% increase from $40 per month to $70! After fuming a bit, I called them and after talking to two different customer service reps for about thirty minutes (altogether, which isn’t half bad for this sort of thing), TWC conceded to set my price for Road Runner with Turbo Boost (20Mbs down, 2Mbs up) at $52 per month. Charlie, my business major roommate for two years in college would be proud of me. (I have a BA in youth ministry and have never taken a business class and rather cringe at the idea of one.)

Lesson of the day: prices are usually flexible. If you think you are paying too much for something, especially internet or phone service or something. Call your provider and talk with them. Ask them what they can do to get you a better price. Make it about business. You want the best price possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price or to change companies. Be polite. Respect the person on the other end of the phone. While it’s not their goal to give you the best deal possible, they don’t want to lose your business either. Work with them. Thank them for whatever concession they make, even when it is not enough. Be straight forward.

As a Christian, this sort of thing has been difficult for me. Part of me wants to just turn the other cheek, but I don’t think that’s what Christ had in mind when he instructed us to do that and he also told us (his followers) to be shrewd as they deal with others (Matt. 10:16 and possibly Luke 16:1-13). Righteousness must be maintained in our dealings.

So, what deals have you got in your personal or company business by asking? Is there a time that you wish you would have asked, but didn’t? Let me know in the comments.

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