Business Negotiation April 22, 2013

How to Tackle a Firm Price Whether You Buy as a Consumer or Professional-Part Five

Below are the final approaches that can win concessions in any negotiation involving a seller’s or merchant’s firm price continuing with the example of testing a department store price on a refrigerator. 32...

Below are the final approaches that can win concessions in any negotiation involving a seller’s or merchant’s firm price continuing with the example of testing a department store price on a refrigerator.


32. Go To The Manufacturer.  They found out who the manufacturer was and bought the item directly from them.

33.  Discounts of All Kinds Are Available. They bought it through a cousin who worked at the store.  Or they availed themselves of discounts for seniors, auto club, price clubs, union, association, government, credit cards, or any other organization they belonged to.

For those who cannot find a good reason to challenge the price, my advice is that you just ask for a reduction offering no reason at all.  You will be surprised at how often “just asking” wins a reduction.  Not asking gets you less than you may deserve.

There are two other well-tested techniques for challenging the firm price barrier which deserve special attention.  The first is “taking on higher authority.”  Most of us are intimidated by people in authority.  Yet in the opinion of experienced negotiators, you can make a better deal with those higher in a company than at lower levels.  Grit your teeth and take on higher authority.

The other approach to testing a firm price is basic to all negotiation.  Learn to walk away from the table, then come back.  Then, if necessary, walk away and come back again.  It takes courage to do so, especially for Americans.  They’ve had so little experience at it.  Americans tend to perceive reopening a deadlocked negotiation as a loss of ego or face.  Europeans, Africans, and Asians view walking away as routine.  They attach less personal significance to it.  The sooner you practice walking out on small negotiations, the easier it will be when the stakes are high.

My advice is that you learn to test an apparently firm price even when the stakes are low.  Some day you will buy a boat or vacation home in Florida.  The practice you get on small deals will save you tens of thousands on the larger ones.  As for those of you in business, the savings on a million dollar computer system may be as high as two or three thousand dollars.  Not a bad return for the time and effort spent on taking on the million dollar firm price.

The magic of taking on a firm price is that it works.  Concessions will be won.  Fight your fear of trying.  If you are too timid to try, you will never find out if the price was really firm on not.

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