Aug 23, 2010

When Negotiating, Make Them Say "No" (Carole)

Some of the most money savvy people I know, live by this phrase,

"Make them say 'No'." 

It means that when you are trying to buy an item or service (car, house, household repair, renovations, something at a garage sale) where there is negotiation involved, you should always bid low, low, low.  The object is to get the other person to say "No."  Because if the sales person says "Yes" to your bid, you COULD have bid lower.

Your goal is to figure out the lowest possible price.

I have a relative who uses this tactic on just about every purchase he makes.  He offers about 75% of the asking price.  He's pretty sure this bid will be safely below the "No Line."  For example, if a car is listed at $15,000 then he offers about $11,000.

Sure enough -- "No!"  (Bidding lower than 75% can often be offensive, but if you have a thick skin and can handle a cool, steely glare, give it a try!)

Now he has a bottom price to work from and he can negotiate up from there.  He almost always gets a killer deal this way.  

There are many strategies that can be used when negotiating on a item, but these three simple rules seem to work in almost every case -- even for those of us who don't enjoy confrontation.

1.  Make them say "no," then work to a price you can both be happy with
2.  Remain pleasant
3.  Be willing to not buy this item.

Please share your negotiation success stories!  What has worked for you?


Carly said...

When I lived in Honduras--where every price is negotiable--I LIVED by this principle. Sometimes I would be able to talk people down to a price that was less than 50% of their asking price (of course it helped that I was a gringa who they assumed couldn't speak their language or understand the unrealistic overpricing they were charging me. Wrong on both accounts!) But I find it harder to be as thick-skinned here in America where it really is offensive to people when you get persistent.

Merry said...

I practiced this art in China, and I have to emphasize the importance of being willing to not buy the particular item you're negotiating for. If you realize that this is not the only (whatever it is) out there, and you really care about getting a good deal, then don't get too attached.

Packrat said...

This works well when buying a large ticket item. If you've done your homework and know the real value, just politely refuse to budge and as Carole says be prepared to not purchase (walk out).

I did walk out when I went to purchase a car for my daughter. I offered cash for an amount quite a bit lower than the sticker price. The dealer said no, so I left. I wound up with the car I wanted at the price I wanted on the very same day. (I paid the dealer the same amount that he had paid for the car.*) We had to purchase our own new tires, but that was really inexpensive compared to the asking price of the car.

Hint: The end of the month is often a good time to make a purchase. Have you been in an office and seen wipe or chalk boards that are being used to track sales? If it looks like sales have been really slow, you can usually get a better bargain.