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September 13, 2010

Negotiating Tip: Timing Is Everything

Hello Good Negotiators

I often hear from some of my 'good negotiators' that a particular technique didn't work or their attempt to get a good deal didn't pan out.  They even inquire as to what they might be doing wrong.

Upon closer examination two things seem to become evident.

First, in the situation they describe, they did get the best deal possible.  Just because they didn't get their price or achieve that big discount, that is no reason to feel that they didn't negotiate properly.

Second, the details of that same situation revealed that the problem might have been 'timing' more than technique.

To address this latter point, can I remind you of the best times to get a discount or better deal.

Negotiating Tip:  Timing Is Everything

A discount is more likely to come your way when:

1. You're patient and wait for the urgency for the deal to turn in your favor.

2. You're willing to buy the floor or the demonstration model.  If you don't see one, ask if they have one.

3. There is minor (and inconsequential) damage to the item or its packaging.  Damaged goods are a burden to retailers and people willing to 'take them off our hands' can achieve quite a bargain.
How much?  Ask for a lot.  50 - 75% off isn't an insulting offer or ask them 'what can you do for me on this damaged item?'.

4. A competing retailer is having a sale, vendors are more willing to 'match' their competitor on a case by case, specific request basis.  Be sure and mention the other party's price and state your desire to be loyal to this vendor.

5. It is a slow sales season or period (or the end of a shopping season).  Many items are prone to sell quickly sometimes, yet languish on the shelf or showroom during other times.  It is obvious when the best deals will be most likely.

6. Buying in quantity!  Moving a larger volume can prompt vendors to give (or justify)a discount.  The volume does not have to be huge.  I've sked for and received good discounts just buying two items.  Oh yes, they don't even have to be the same items.
Example:  Buy a couch and get a discount on lamps or end tables.

7. You can send more business their way.  Vendors are open to 'rewarding' people who can tell their friends, relatives, business associates and others about their products or services.  Be specific and even ask for a card or brochure that you intend to personally give to the referral.

Good negotiators know that a discount isn't possible in every situation.  But they also know the optimum times and situations to ask for one.  They remember that timing is everything!

KEEP Negotiating.

Licensed Pennsylvania real estate broker for over 35 years, John Hamilton is an author, national speaker and educator who specializes in the art of negotiation. His most popular workshop is, “Negotiating: What’s Mine Is Mine, What’s Yours Is Negotiable” John was the 2002 President of the International Real Estate Educators Association and conducts over 125 seminars annually to business, banking, auctioneer, manufacturer representatives and real estate Boards/Associations. John's book KEEP Negotiating has become a desktop favorite for active real estate agents everywhere For past 15 years he has presented training program nationwide on sales, negotiating and motivational topics. Visit for a free report entitled the Top 12 Mistakes Negotiators Make. 

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