How to get a good price
Years ago I bought an apartment in a resort area for $250,000. Three years later I sold it at a loss of $100,000 and was so happy that I could have kissed the buyer on the lips. I had been trying to sell the property for two years and was so desperate that I would have agreed to an even lower price had he pushed harder.
From this experience I learned several valuable lessons, not the least being the knowledge that there are many motivated sellers around, for everything from houses to motor vehicles, furniture, clothing and much more. The key is to find out who they are and the level of their anxiety to dispose of what they have.
Know this: The power is with you, the buyer. There is almost certainly no shortage of supply for whatever you need. They want your money more than you should want them to be your supplier of choice.
There we have it in a nutshell. It’s all about getting information and having the right attitude.
When you enter a store you will be dealing with a salesperson who has been trained to get information from you. The first thing they want to know is whether you are a serious potential buyer or a time-waster. Anything they can tell you about the product or service you could probably find out in advance by researching on the internet, phoning around, reading brochures, etc – and you should. Get information far away from the pressures and emotion of a face-to-face encounter.
As much as you may know when you meet with a salesperson, keep the balance in your favour by asking most of the questions. By all means let them qualify you. Let them know you are in the market to buy, but have them confirm the facts you have already gleaned about the item they hope to sell you. If they feel that they are going to get a positive result, they will be keen to secure your order.
Tip for high flyers: You don’t have to impress the salesperson. You will get more information flowing your way if you come across as a little slow and even bumbling. “I’m not sure if I understand that properly. Can you explain that again?” This takes any pressure off you and leaves it where it should be, with the salesperson.
Among other things, here is what you want to know:
- Does the salesperson have the authority to offer discounts?
- Are bigger discounts available if the salesperson refers to their superior?
And here is your best question, when you have exhausted all other questions: “Is that your best price?” Follow it up by saying, “I like it. But it’s more than I want to pay.”
If you are dealing with a well-trained salesperson, they may come back with: “How much did you want to spend?” You see, they are after information. You don’t have to answer that. You can come back with the stock question, “What is your best price?”
If you feel compelled to give a straightforward response, better to set your price low rather than high. You can come up, but you’ll never get further down once you have stated a price that is within their discount margins. You can take a light-hearted approach and say that you would prefer to pay nothing.
When they set a lower price you don’t have to accept that immediately. You will find amazing power in silence. Think about their offer, long and hard. It’s at that time that the salesperson will frequently announce that they will go to their superior to see whether a better price can be authorised.
That’s it. It’s not complicated. Nobody gets hurt. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. You just have to pluck up the courage to ask for the best price. You can always leave. There is always another supplier, another store, another salesperson who is anxious to get your business.
If you allow yourself to think that if you do not take their offer you will miss out, that the opportunity will be lost, never to return again, then forget about a better price. Pay whatever they ask, and be happy. But that is almost never the case. Sure, you care about this. You have decided to buy. Only the price is to be settled.
In the words of a great negotiator:
“Care, but not too much.”
What is there to be over-anxious about? They need you more than you need them.
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