The art of negotiation

Negotiation is not a choice

Negotiation should be something that everyone has in their arsenal. When making big purchases you should always be seeking to negotiate a discount. Here's how:

I am by no means an expert negotiator (good start to an article about how to negotiate!). However, I realise its importance and understand the basics of negotiating. The "art" bit - I'm still working on!

I recently wrote about when it is acceptable to negotiate in store when making a big purchase and encourage my readers to consciously go out of their way to negotiate. Hopefully by now you'll have been thinking about your next big purchase and what you might say in order to get some money off the price.

A worked example in negotiation

For the purposes of this article we will assume that you've got £1,000 set aside for a bed (mattress included - who knew that they were so expensive!). The first thing to do is to make sure that you've shopped around. Get an idea from several stores and online as to what's out there in the market catering to your needs and where's the best price. I recommend going to retail parks where there will be several furniture shops clustered together. That way you can make very quick comparisons immediately.

Next, when you go into store try to make sure that you have a clear idea as to what you intend to purchase. In an ideal situation you will have scoped out more than one possible purchase option for your bed. In a perfect world there will be other additional purchases that you could make from the store e.g. bedside tables.

Interacting with the member of staff during your negotiation

When a staff member approaches be friendly and ask the price for the bed - be sure to ask for the all in price that includes all costs such as the bed frame, headboard, mistress, delivery charges, insurance. To ensure that there will be no hidden costs later ask for the "total price that I need to pay to walk out owning the bed today".

Once the sales staff has told you the total price ask can they do better. Note that there are plenty of other bed shops that you are looking at and that you are aware that there are times when the store has discounts. If the staff member says that there are no discounts ensure that you are firm and ask whether there is anything they can do. Normally they will be able to knock anywhere between £50 - £250 off the price. Then ask whether you can have the additional charges for free. Explain that since you're spending £1,000 on a bed you don't feel that it's right to pay £40 for delivery. Be firm but friendly. Delivery charges can normally be deducted.

When they give you this (hopefully) new final price then ask for another reduction. They may be quite frustrated at this point. Consider offering to purchase the bedside tables as well. This is in the shop assistant's interest as they now have the possibility of increasing the overall sale size which will help them hit their monthly targets. But once again say that you want a reduction from the total sales price of the two items combined. If this seems like a problem then suggest that they see if they can get approval from the manager. Communicate that you are 100% going to buy today if you feel that you've got a good deal. 

Nine times out of ten I would expect this strategy to work. You should end up with a decent deal. Remember, there is always money to be deducted - you just have to ask. Final piece of advice: be friendly but firm. Good luck!

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