Three Surprising Negotiation Insights From Women in Auto
What are the negotiation secrets of women leaders in the automobile industry?
I share inspiring insights from the Women in Automobile Networking Breakfast at the New York Auto Show and talk about how you can apply these insights to gain the upper hand in your career negotiations.
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Full Episode Transcript*:
(*This transcript has been edited for accuracy)
Hello! Welcome to the twelfth episode of Born to Thrive with Jamie Lee. I am your host, Jamie Lee. I work as a negotiation and leadership coach for women on the rise.
Yesterday, I got to give a keynote at Women in Auto. This was a networking breakfast held at the Javits Center where the New York Auto Show is happening right now. I got to meet and hear from some really amazing, impressive women leaders in the auto industry, and to provide some context as to how impressive that really is, I’ll share some information with you.
In America, women influence 85% of car buying decisions, and that’s equivalent to $550 billion in car revenues. That’s a lot of money that women influence, and yet only 26% of the jobs in the auto industry are held by women. So, the women leaders, executives in the auto industry, they truly are pioneers in a male-dominated industry.
Something really interesting that I observed yesterday was that right before I got on the stage, the organizer asked the audience a question. She said, “How many of you enjoy negotiating?” And half of the room raised their hands. That’s admirable and also unusual.
Maybe it’s my stereotype, but a lot of women do say that they don’t like to negotiate, that they don’t enjoy it, but half of the room yesterday at Women in Auto said they do. I think this is indicative of their attitude toward negotiating.
So, women who say they do like negotiating, they are more likely to see it as a fun challenge that will help them grow their skills and help them gain value and engage, connect, collaborate.
Whereas women who say that they don’t like to negotiate, they see negotiation as a “rough” conversation. That it’s a game rigged against them, that they’re going to lose something. That they have to compromise, and they feel sort of let’s say, like they’re already at a disadvantage before they go into the conversation, because they see themselves not as somebody who’s going to learn and grow from the conversation, but somebody who has to give something up.
So, how do you see yourself? Do you enjoy negotiation or do you dread it? And if you dread it, maybe you can start thinking of it in different ways, so that you wouldn’t dread it as much.
So, let me share with you some of the really inspiring insights that I gained from listening to the leading women in auto. There were two speakers in particular who really touched me, who really moved me.
The first speaker, her name is Suzanne, and she is the GM, she is the General Manager at Helms Brothers Auto, which is one of the biggest Mercedes resellers in New York, and she said she started as a receptionist more than thirty years ago in the auto industry and she worked herself up to become the General Manager.
She emphasized two points. One is the importance of improving yourself every day. She said that she improves herself every day so that she can have a positive influence on others, and I thought that was really inspiring.
The second was the importance of being consistent. Being consistent even when there are so many changes in the industry, and every day there are unknowns and curveballs thrown her way, but every day she is consistent in her effort to add value. I thought that was really inspiring, too.
She was asked, “So, how do you negotiate? What is the secret to your negotiation success?” and that really got my ear and I jotted this down.
She shared three tidbits which I thought were all amazing.
The first is that knowledge is power. The more you know, the more confident you will be. I think that makes total sense because 80% of your negotiation success is your research, is how well you have prepared and what you know going into the conversation.
The second secret to her negotiation success was that she knows her value and she knows how to articulate it. If you’re curious about how to do that, again, you can check out the previous podcast episodes number 8 and number 9, as well as number 10, all around how to articulate your value and how to speak your value without fear and anxiety.
Number three, the third secret to her success, was that you get back what you give. I thought that was really powerful, and that also reminded me of another inspiring quote by motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, who said,
You can get everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
And I think that is a really great definition of adding value. How do you gain value? You gain value when you have contributed value to others.
And, finally, there was a speaker, her name was Kathy Gilbert, and she is the Director of Sales and Business Development for this major organization called CDK Global, and she talked about how to define success for yourself, and the importance of integrity, diversity and culture.
She is a black woman, and she rose through the ranks as well to become Director of Sales and Business Development for this major organization that works with the automotive industry, including women dealers, manufacturers, vendor partners, and affiliate organizations. She was very authentic in her speech, and in the middle of the speech she said, “Here’s how I know I am a success. It’s because I am here. I am here with you on a Thursday morning at the Javits Center, celebrating my birthday. I’m speaking at the New York Auto Show, telling my story to women in the automotive industry, and that’s how I know that I am successful. Because I am here.”
I thought that was really powerful, and so did everyone else. We all applauded, because we realized: Oh, yeah! We’re here. We’re right here and we are successful with you, Kathy.
And what she showed us by her example was that you get to define success for yourself, and it’s so powerful to see people do it, because it gives us permission to do it for ourselves. And what that clued me into is that, like success, which we can define for ourselves, we can also define what is valuable or what is value.
Now when you hear me say that, you might be thinking, “No, Jamie, you don’t understand. It’s just about the money!” Yes, money is definitely a yardstick of success that a lot of people agree on.
If you contribute value, money will come your way. However, money is not necessarily success.
Money is not the definition of success, nor is it the definition of value.
So, what is value? We talk about value all the time in negotiation. How do you create value? How do you articulate value? Collaborate to gain value? I’ve been listening to The Life Coach School Podcast by Brooke Castillo and recently she did an episode about money, and it came to a really surprising conclusion that illuminated what value is and where it comes from.
Basically, she says, value is created in the mind. I’ll say it again. Value is created in the mind. That makes a lot of sense to me, because you can have the same object, let’s say a beautiful dress, and the same dress can be of different value to one person and completely no value to another. It’s how we define value in our minds, and even money.
I’m traveling to Asia in the spring, and the currency, the value of a dollar has changed over time because people have decided that a dollar is now less valuable than a Japanese yen. And again, that’s because we made that decision in our minds. Value is created in the mind.
So, I’ll wrap this up with a helpful tip. How can you apply all of this so that you can negotiate successfully in your life? I think two things.
First, really get clear on what you value. What is important to you? What is worth the effort, what is worth the aggravation of engaging in a negotiation for you? How do you define value?
And also, how will you define success for yourself? In other words, what do you want and why is it important to you?
Secondly, find out what your negotiation counterpart values. This will help you gain the upper hand. If you understand what they value, what this money or this contract or this deal or getting a yes, what it means to them and why it is valuable to them, you will be able to get through, you will be able to influence, and you will be able to get that yes.
So, I wish you great success in your negotiation and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.