Going through my usual motions yesterday, I came across an excellent post on EventureBiz.com, “Negotiating: it never hurts to ask.” In this post Lindsey writes:
Every time a new contractor would come in to do something he would ask them to also do something else (without charging any extra). Since he was willing to do this we were able to get a lot of things done for nothing that would have added up to a lot of additional money out of our pockets.
What you need to keep in mind whether it be dealing with contractors, sales people or other entrepreneurs is that you need to know what you want before you talk to them. Have a game plan ready, know where you are going to start and what compromises you are willing to make.
For our investment property, we mapped out a timeline and budget. The problem was to fix up the house the way we wanted, we would have to spend well over our budget or do the work ourselves but sacrifice our timeline.
To solve this dilemma, John talked a little with each contractor that walked through our door and got to know a little about them.
For example, he discovered the mold removal contractor had a spray texture gun he used whenever he had to patch holes in walls he tore through to get to mold.
By asking this contractor to spray a few extra areas while he had the gun out we saved a couple hundred dollars.
Lindsey reiterates one of the pillars of success that I have been stressing for a long time now, ask and you shall receive. It is absolutely unbelievable how may things you can get cheaper or a better deal on, simply by asking. Do you realize that you can go into a Best Buy, and after only maybe 30 minutes of online research and a phone call or two, save potentially $500+. How?
Easy. Let’s say you’re in the market for a new High Definition Tele. You go to Best Buy first and see that they’re charging $3,800 for the one you want. You get a sales man to print out the invoice and take it to Circuit City, where you proceed to see if they can do a better job, have the new lower invoice printed and leave. Now hit the phone for a half hour calling a few other electronic stores (maybe 1 or 2) then hit amazon and eBay for the same model (it helps if you’re looking at a popular model) Do not use eBay auctions that have not ended, you must use empirical information that has been set as a transaction.
Now head back to Best Buy with your invoice from Circuit City and your online quotes, shoot for a price a few hundred dollars under where you feel comfortable and a few hundred dollars under the lowest invoice. Be prepared to come up to where you are comfortable – at the end of this process you should be at least $500 under where you started.
Fact:I went to an electronics outlet (Boscov’s – I’m not telling the location) with $800 in my pocket. I walked around for a while, found a television I like (which happened to be on sale for $1,200) and asked, simply, what the best the salesman could do. He replied with $1,049. I said I had seen the same one (not entirely true) for $899, and inquired if he could do any better…
He thought for a moment, and said he would match $899, but it was the best he could do. I said that was very generous, but that I only had $750 on me, and I was going to buy a television today. He was a little put off, but still interested that he had a motivated buyer on the hook. He began talking about some of the other, “more moderately priced,” models. I expressed that I had no interest, and asked again if there was anything he could do.
He said he was sorry but the absolute bottom was $849, and that’s all there was to it. So I did the polite thing, thanked him for his time, and made my way to the door. He let me make it maybe ten steps, then said “I’ll do $800, there’s a cash machine across the street.”
At point he was mine. I took out my money, $800, and said this is what I got – make sure with the $45 dollars in tax you keep under $800.
They started packaging my new television.
Good post, Nick. This too is exactly what I tell people. Almost anything you buy that has a “retail” price or is a service is negotiable – especially in times like these (recession glooming).
Many people don’t ask for deals because they feel embarrassed, cheep, or scared. If this is you, this is something you must get over – if you wish to become a competitive entrepreneur, that is.
I learned this first way back when I was 15 and selling guitars in a music store. My boss always marked the price up and would go down 20% in price if needed. If the customer didn’t ask, they didn’t get the discount. And if times were really slow, he’d go even lower because he needed money – even if it was only $100.