Negotiate EVERY Purchase

negotiate-every-purchaseNegotiating. Most Americans hate it.

As the owner of a retail precious metals (PM) store, I can tell you that 9 times out of 10, if I quote a price for either buying or selling PMs, that’s the price that’s paid.  Ask someone to negotiate, and they get all clammy.

But, that one person in ten that asks for a deal usually gets it.

For instance, if someone is buying jewelry, they may ask for a lower price – or may just say what they’ll pay. If it’s not outrageous, we can usually work something out.

I may say I can give them a discount on a necklace, if they also buy a pair of earrings. We both win.

I sell more product and build a customer relationship, and he or she gets what they want at a discount. People with an affinity for haggling know it goes both ways!

I’ve got a very good friend who asks for a price cut virtually everywhere he goes. From a roadside fruit stand (where you’d expect such a thing) to a national brand sandwich shop (“Hey, toss on an extra piece of cheese or slice of meat, won’t ya?”).

Most of the time they do it. He’s a master.

What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll say, “No’. He can live with that!

This article has some very good guidelines, as well as some do’s and don’ts. I’ll tell you one thing: practice makes perfect. Think of it as a business activity – your job is to get the greatest value for your company money.

Trust me, it works!

Negotiate Everything And Anything
By Patricia J Moser

I read an article in Consumer Reports entitled “How to bargain for almost anything”. The basic premise of this article was that although most consumers are comfortable negotiating the price of a house or car, they believe that everything else must more or less be accepted at the price offered.

In the US and Canada, we tend to buy without considering the fact that there is an option to negotiate, whereas in other cultures there is an expectation that one does. This also transcends into the corporate arena, where often one encounters the attitude from the inevitable end users of a product or service that a quote is the end of the negotiation.

There is often fear associated with further negotiation –“What if they get offended, then they won’t do business with us!”

This is such a ludicrous opinion that you want to give folk a shake and say “Wake up! These suppliers are in the business of getting our business”.

People fear the little two-letter word “no.” It can hold many hostage, because they believe that there is no retort to this word. People feel embarrassed when someone says no, but in reality, in my mind, no just means find another way.

The one thing you don’t do in a negotiation is state an ultimatum such as “if you don’t do this I won’t buy from you,” unless you are truly willing to walk away, and never re-engage with this particular company. Don’t bluff, because you might be called on it and then you’ve lost all your leverage. It is better to stay engaged, probe and discover the other party’s business drivers, and carefully, but skillfully peel back to onion of the real issues and determine what their bottom-line is and see how it maps to yours.

Beyond the business aspects of this, as Consumer Reports points out, you can negotiate everyday, for almost everything. I’ve negotiated down my cable rates, my phone rates, my Internet rates, just by asking how important my business was to these companies. I also ask for some type of discount when I purchase clothing (which is probably far too often!) particularly if I’m a regular customer. I ask how important it is to this store to retain my loyalty.

In regards to loyalty, I have also recently written to my bank which has both my personal and business accounts. I am always disturbed when corporations have special promotions to get “new” clients, but take their current and loyal clients for granted. Seeing one promotion which gave new customers an iPod for switching their business to the bank, I wrote an email, asking what they were going to do for existing and loyal customers.

After a couple of emails (never accept the first response) I received $200 credited to my bank account. Not bad for a 1/2 hours work.

Everything is negotiable. You just have to ask!

Patricia J. Moser is President of i3 ADVANTAGE, a boutique consulting firm. Visit and read more of Patricia’s writings at

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