The biblical advice to “Ask, and ye shall receive,” is meant as a spiritual principle, but it’s also a great principle of negotiation. Asking increases the odds that you’ll receive what you ask for, and almost certainly assures you of greater success if done often enough, but it is no guarantee in a given case. But then, I suppose that “Ask, and you’ll have a higher probability of receiving,” isn’t quite as inspiring. In any case, here is a good example of the idea in action, taken from my book, Secrets of Lucky People.
How to Buy an Island for a 94% Discount
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. – Jesus
Asking for things you want is a sure way to have better luck. It is an obvious lesson, right? But then how many of us would have done what Richard Branson did in the following story (this was before he was a billionaire).
Richard Branson and his wife were in the Virgin Islands, looking at small islands for sale. They had no intention of buying one, but their trip was paid for by the real estate company as long as they were looking. It was a way to get a vacation when they were short on cash.
One particular island caught their imaginations, however. It was lush and green, with a lake, and a nice beach. Branson decided that he did want an island after all. He asked about the price, and was told it was three million pounds. He offered 150,000 pounds. The agent repeated the asking price, and Branson said he would pay 200,000 pounds, and no more.
With that, the vacation was over. In fact, their things were abruptly put outside of the hotel room. Offering 93% less than the asking price apparently offended the agent. However, the story didn’t end there.
Later, back in England, Branson found the owner. The man had never even been to the island, and he was very anxious to sell it. Branson offered him 175,000 pounds. The offer was rejected. That still is not the end of the story, however.
Several months later Branson received a call from the owner. He said he would take 180,000 pounds for it. Branson found a way to borrow the money, and he closed the deal. He bought the island for just 6% of the asking price, and 20,000 pounds less than one of his previous offers.
This is the kind of reward you can get for asking. Perhaps at some point someone even thought they would pay 300,000 pounds for the island, but didn’t want to “insult” the owner with such a low offer. You might look like a fool for asking for a 90% discount, right?
But then again, Branson got it even cheaper. Maybe looking like a fool is a risk worth taking for a deal like that. You never know until you ask.
This was an excerpt from Chapter Nineteen of Secrets of Lucky People. How can you get it? Ask and ye shall receive – as long as you have $12.95. It is available from Amazon.com as a paperback, or you can instantly download it as a PDF ebook, along with a bonus book.