The Art of the Deal

There really is something satisfying about getting something for cheaper than you expected or getting something extra tossed in.  I know every time I negotiate a deal that I thought I did well on it gives me a smile.

I’m not an expert on negotiation, not even close, but I still manage to find a use for the skill once in a while.  Here’s my tips on how to make it work.

  1. Ask.  It’s amazing the amount of times in people’s lives that someone doesn’t ask for a deal when it would be appropriate.  If you are buying anything used, you can negotiate the price.  If you are buying any large ticket item negotiate the price.  If your buying anything that would resemble a bulk order you can try to negotiate.
  2. Don’t argue.  Negotiation isn’t a fight where the winner takes all.  It’s rather trying to find common group between two people who want to do business.  So don’t come off as overbearing and inflexible.  Just be calm and ask “So would you take less for this?”
  3. Have options ready.  If you want to pay $10 for the item don’t offer that as your first bid.  Start at $7 or 8 and be willing to move up.  Also consider in advance the most you will pay for the item in question.
  4. Understand the other person’s needs.  When I started my last job I was aware it is often easier for people to offer you move vacation than salary, so I focused my negotiation on vacation.  I got an extra weeks vacation, which is equal to a 2% raise.  We both win in that case.
  5. Be careful with low balling.  Offering a very low initial offer can come across as insulting if not done very carefully.  So if you are going to do it, for example on a house, you better be prepared to cut some slack and drop other common terms on the offer to make it clean and somewhat appealing such as home inspection or selling your home first.  Then if the price starts going up you can start adding in terms.  I know I bought my current house without the clause of getting approved financing, which my bank asked for.  They were a bit touchy I didn’t put on the term, but they got over it and it helped me save 5% on my house.

Well that’s my limited experience with negotiating. What has worked for you?  Please share with a comment.

One thought on “The Art of the Deal”

  1. Your #1 is a definitely true, it’s amazing what you can get if you just use the phrase “Is that the best you can offer?” especially when talking to someone in customer service. It sort of lowers their defenses and lets them say honestly if there is some room left to go.

    I’d say the other really important point is don’t set your heart on owning something before you buy it. You have to be willing to walk away. If you can’t then you shouldn’t really even try to get a deal, just be willing to buy it straight up.

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