Our Scotwork office is located in central Sydney. We see many homeless and less fortunate people, and frequently I am stopped and asked for “spare change?”. Today, as I ambled back to the office following my lunch break I spotted a homeless man perched in front of our office building. He had a sign which read “I’m trying 2 get $26 to get a bed 4 tonight, thank you”.
I thought to myself, I bet this guy has more success getting donations than most beggars. Not because his shoes are more worn, his shirt more dirty or his hair more dreadlocked. No, I was impressed by the fact his sign is specific about what he wants. He disclosed he needs exactly $26 for a bed as opposed to a more round figure (such as $20) or simply asking for “some money” or “spare change”. This gives his request inherent credibility, which research shows improves the chances of success in getting what you ask for.
I later found out a colleague of mine had asked him a couple of days earlier how much money he needed to reach his $26 target, his response, “$9”, again specific! My colleague gave $10, and he slept well that night.
The lesson for negotiators - know what you want, be specific about what it is that you want, and then be brave enough to ask for it.
Sounds simple, right? I guess this homeless man has learned the benefits of being specific, something others should also take on board.