Putting Your Best Foot Forward When Negotiating Offers

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Topics: Negotiating

Putting Your Best Foot Forward When Negotiating Offers
By Jack Miller
Because of so many car dealers and retailers offering discount and rebate coupons as part of their marketing strategies, people have become accustomed to playing pricing games when they sell.  The reasoning goes that the buyer is going to offer less than the asking price, so the price should be increased to allow a discount to be offered.  Oddly enough, this works just enough times to encourage people to do it.  Because of this, buying at a bargain price could well require the buyer to not only discount the inflated price, but to get a discount from fair market value as well.  Not an easy task.  The secret is to get the other party into a frame of mind where he wants to deal with you, and can excuse himself for accepting less, or paying more, than he had expected to do.

House buyers often negotiate from a negative perspective, pointing out all the things that are wrong with a targeted house.  This isn't always wise; especially when they are talking to a home owner who had gone to a lot of trouble to make his home attractive.  As often as not, criticizing something you intend to buy creates a paradox:  If there are so many things wrong with it, why do you want to buy it?  And if you expect a seller to accommodate a lower price, insulting his home isn't going to encourage him to do so.

One way that a buyer got me to agree to a lower price was to use a scale of 1 – 10 and get me to compare an office building I had with the best one in town.  Next he asked me to compare the location with the best in town.  Then the quality of the rents and stability of the businesses that rented from me with the best in town.  By the time he was finished with me I felt lucky that he was even talking to me, yet he hadn't said one derogatory word.  Instead, he had gotten me thinking about all the faults in my building compared to the best, and mentally accepting the fact that I wasn't going to get my price from anyone.

I like the way people in other countries negotiate.  In China, first they served me a couple of strong drinks; then explained why something was priced the way it was; then asked me what difference a few dollars would make compared to my enjoyment of the thing I was considering buying.

In Mexico, I watched one man lavish praise on the workmanship, style, color, and quality of a hand woven serape, then ruefully explain that he only had a limited amount of money, so wouldn't be able to own such a beautiful thing.

In Italy, I bought an original ceramic sculpture from the artist by explaining that he might easily get a much better price, but nobody would appreciate his are as much as I would.  He agreed to my price and I still have the statue in my home.

Taking these techniques a step further, one of our subscribers tells home owners that they can easily get a lot more for their home than he can afford to pay, but he has the money to pay them just as soon as they are ready to move out.  On the other hand, he explains that they may have to wait many months before the market produces a buyer who can get the financing to buy it.

If you have any questions about this topic, let's talk about it in for FORUM.

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