When we enter into business negotiations, we tend to want to play our cards close to the chest. We want the best deal possible and we don’t want to give too much away. We dislike the idea of someone taking advantage of us.
However, there are times when it’s crucial that we do lay those cards on the table and disclose our financial status. When might those times be?
When discussing a home loan. You know what you can afford, and you know what is outside your range. If the agent or seller is trying to pressure you into signing on a house that’s out of your budget, there is nothing wrong with saying, “I can’t afford that monthly payment.” This doesn’t make you less in the eyes of the seller, and it doesn’t reduce your chances of working with them in future – instead, they will appreciate the fact that you were firm, and that you were specific with your price point. They can now serve you better.
Another time to be totally straightforward is when you don’t have the full amount needed in order to make the deal. Explain to the other person in the business relationship that you don’t have the money yet, but you will on such-and-such date. We experienced this for ourselves two weeks ago when we purchased a new (used) van. We obtained a bank loan for the bulk of the amount, and planned to give the dealer the remainder of the money when a check I’m expecting arrives. We told the dealer right upfront that when the check came in, we’d bring it down to him. He was perfectly fine with that, we negotiated the terms, and I found out this afternoon that my check might not come for another week. (Gasp!) We called the dealer, explained the situation, and he’s fine with it. Because he knew upfront that we were waiting for this particular disbursement, we didn’t catch him off guard by telling him we couldn’t conclude the transaction immediately.
Now, I have to say, I’m in the camp that believes you should always be as forthcoming with information as you can be. I’m just that way. I do understand that in a business setting, though, it’s not always a good idea to be too transparent, and it can actually hurt you more than help you. But in these particular kinds of money matters, having a heart-to-heart – or, at least, let my wallet talk to your calculator, can pay you in the long run.