Communication skills are vital to our careers, yet we don’t often look for opportunities to improve them. While dealing with salespeople can be stressful—we often see them as a drain on our bank account—that interaction can also serve as a chance to sharpen our negotiation skills. And learning to negotiate is essential no matter what career we’re striving for.
Here are a few ways to improve your communication skills the next time you deal with a salesperson:
1. Ask a ridiculous question.
Whoever said there are no stupid questions was a fool. If you’ve ever asked a silly question, you know what it feels like to have blood rush to your face. Yet we can’t avoid asking silly questions once in a while; we need the answers no matter how much it hurts. Asking whatever questions come to your mind, regardless of how silly they seem, will help you feel comfortable asking that important question at work.
2. Negotiate the price.
There are two types of people in this world: those who live to nickel and dime to get the lowest possible price—and everyone else. If you’re part of the latter group, you will spend your life paying more than others. Sometimes, paying a lower price is as simple as asking for it. When you pay less, you have more money to spend on yourself. You also get to avoid feeling like you got ripped off. Negotiating skills will come in handy when you’re haggling for a raise or looking to take on a new opportunity.
Read the rest of my article on U.S. News and World Report.