Negotiation Strategies April 08, 2013

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

Americans as a whole are hypnotized by firm prices, more so than those who live in other societies.   We are inundated by what appears to be firm prices...

Americans as a whole are hypnotized by firm prices, more so than those who live in other societies.  We are inundated by what appears to be firm prices.  They blare at us in newspaper advertisements, over television, in four color price lists and in stores themselves.  Is it any wonder that we have grown accustomed to paying the asking price without testing it?

Not so in other cultures.  There, when they see an $800 price ticket on a piece of furniture, they say, “That’s the most the seller wants.  I wonder what the least they will take is?”  Americans see the $800 price tag differently.  They say, “That’s what the seller wants.  Do I want to buy it or not?”  The result of this difference in approach is that most Americans, if they want the product or service, pay the price asked.

From now on, whenever you encounter a firm price, say to yourself, “That’s the most the seller or merchant wants.  I wonder what the least they will take is?”  Test the price-there is usually some flexibility in the seller’s offering or terms.  There are good reasons for this.

Day in and day out salespeople lose sales because people cannot or will not meet their demands.  Each loss forces sellers to reevaluate a firm position.  This interaction with potential customers leads the seller to consider creative alternatives to close a sale rather than lose it.  The consumer or professional buyer who tests the firm price can rest assured that they are not the first to do so, not will they be the first to succeed in winning concessions.

To help take on a firm price, we can learn as much from little things as from big ones.  The principles of testing the price on products or services are alike whether it be for a case of Scotch, a new condominium, an IBM computer or the interest rate you pay on your mortgage.  In Part Two, we shall illustrate these techniques by testing a department store price on a refrigerator.
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