This is a guest post from Scott and Marie at Rainy Day Finances
Wow, what a time to get a good deal! Prices are dropping and bargains are everywhere. However, I’m finding that many of us are still not using basic negotiating skills to drive prices down even more.
So if you aren’t a negotiator here is a quick and easy training lesson that will get you started. All you need to know are the five basic steps:
Preparing to negotiate
Preparing is what we call goal setting. You decide that you want to buy a washer and dryer for the house. You’ve looked around, checked out Consumer Reports, spoken to friends and maybe even talked to a few dealers. Now you have made up your mind on roughly which make and model you want. The next step is to put together your research in a file so that it is available to you when you are shopping. The third step is to list each and every extra benefit that might be offered/added on the purchase such as shipping fees, taxes, discounts, custom colors, coupons, exchanges, disposal fees and the like. The final step is to decide what vendor(s) you are going to pursue.
Planning to negotiate
Planning is the strategy portion of the negotiation process. This is where you figure out how you are going to go about the purchasing of the appliances. What tactics will you use? Will you carry in a budgeted amount of cash? Will your spouse be there to help? How about a take-it-or-leave-it offer or looking for a scratch and dent sale? If you aren’t familiar with these tactics then use this handy dandy, all purpose favorite:
Plan to say to the dealer after every offer, “You’ll have to do better than that” and follow it with a large dose of silence.
Pretending during negotiations
Pretending is what we call “feeling out the other party” or questioning. Pretend means to pretend you don’t know anything about washers and dryers. Let the salesperson educate you on their products and their policies. Ask questions and listen (don’t just hear) them as they speak. By listening I mean to really comprehend what they are saying. For instance, let’s say the dealer tells you that this is a limited time offer. What does limited time mean? Is it being discontinued? Is there a newer and better model coming? Is the appliance not popular or does it have a defect? When the salesperson makes a statement think about what that statement could really mean.
Exercising patience when negotiating
Patience is taking your time to negotiate. This is without a doubt the hardest skill to master and probably the strongest tool at your disposal. Most Americans like for negotiations to go quickly. But when this happens you don’t get enough time to build a relationship with the seller. If the seller is an impatient person you can use patience to force the price to drop by simply stalling or continuing to ask questions. On our blog you can read about the time I kept a salesman standing in the hot Georgia sun for an hour while he tried to sell me a car and the price kept getting lower and lower with each drop of sweat.
Making the purchase after negotiating
Purchasing is the closing of the deal. This is where you agree to the price and prepare to pay the vendor. Watch for unexpected charges and add-ons from the salesperson. If they try to nibble you (there are extra shipping charges on Friday deliveries or you’ll need laundry soap for your new washer) then politely let the salesperson know that you will have to open the negotiations all over again and they have already spent an hour with you.
Go out and negotiate!
Using the simple system of preparing, planning, pretending, patience and purchasing will allow you to negotiate a better price without having to learn a lot of skills. All of these steps are time proven to give you the best deal. So start having fun negotiating and you’ll save money!
Thanks, Scott for the really great deal you got on the new washing machine you bought a few months ago. You saved us $207 off the already low sale price and got free shipping, installation and removal of the old unit. It works great and the spare change I’m getting out of your pants pockets is going to pay for a trip to Alaska!
For more daily negotiating tips check out www.rainydayfinances.com!
Photo by maveric2003