'Shark Tank's' Kevin O'Leary: This is how to negotiate, from your salary to your cable bill

Sarah Berger

On ABC's "Shark Tank," Shark Kevin O'Leary is known as one of the toughest negotiators on the show, digging his heels in on deals he thinks are fair and fearlessly pushing for what he believes he deserves. And he's got some good advice on how you can negotiate for the things you want in your own life too, whether it's your salary or your cable bill.

"You know, in life, you'd be surprised if you ask for things, sometimes you get them," O'Leary tells CNBC Make It. "Squeeze heads every time you can. Yeah, it sounds like work, but it's worth it."

Negotiating your salary

Scroll to continue with content

While O'Leary says as an entrepreneur he's never asked for a raise — "The only person I've ever asked for a raise from is me, and I was very accommodating," he jokes — he's been on the other side of the table.

O'Leary says when it comes to salary, wait until you've been at your job for at least a year and have been doing well, then speak up.

First, arm yourself with the facts, says O'Leary. Research what other people are making at your level in your industry and sector. Understand what the highest and lowest salary is and then aim to get yourself in the top 25 percent of that range.

"If you're doing a good job [at your job], you want to start asking for more," O'Leary says. "They expect you to ask for more. If you don't ask for it, you won't get it."

Negotiating your bills

With something more simple, like your cable bill, play hardball for a better package or fewer fees. For example, if you are paying for channels you don't watch, "call up your provider and say, 'Tell me about your other packages, because if you don't give me a better deal, I'm leaving,'" O'Leary says.

"I've done this my whole life," he says.

"Believe me, they will hop to. They want to know what it's going to take to keep you as a customer, and you want a reduction in fees. You're going to find a happy medium pretty quickly. You'd be surprised.

"Your job is to squeeze a cost cut and a savings out of them," says O'Leary. "You can do it. It works."

In terms of bigger loans — like a mortgage or business loan — O'Leary says you can try to negotiate your way out of lender's fees. Start by saying you simply don't want to pay the fee, O'Leary suggests, and if they don't budge, offer half of what they are asking for. You'd be amazed at what you can get simply if you just ask for it, he says.

"You can push back hard on that," O'Leary says. "They want to loan you the money because the core profit is the interest they charge you."

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: Kevin O'Leary: This should be your financial deal-breaker in a relationship

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC's "Shark Tank."

More From CNBC

What to Read Next