I'm not what you would call the world's best negotiator, but sometimes it's necessary to engage in a tough negotiation. Take, for instance, the time I had to renew the lease on my apartment. This was back in college, when I was renting a small studio in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles. When my lease was up, the landlord and I sat down to hammer out the terms of a new lease.
"I'll tell you what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm going to give you a break on rent if you sign a two-year lease instead of just a one-year lease."
"Well," I said, "I don't know. What sort of break are we talking about here?"
"I'll give you a 5% rent increase instead of a 10% increase in exchange for you signing a two-year lease. It's a win-win situation: you get a cut in rent, and I get the security of a two-year lease."
At this point, I decided to make a counter-proposal. "How about this," I said, "You give me a one year lease with a six percent increase."
"No, I can't make that sort of deal," he said. "But here's what I can do, and it's my final offer: I'll pay for your electricity for the first 6 months of the lease, along with the other terms I mentioned before."
"You drive a hard bargain. Okay, it's a deal," I said. I guess I could have tried to bargain him down a bit more, but I was happy with our agreement. Now all I had to do was sign on the dotted line.
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