How do you, as a buyer, negotiate to get the best prices on goods and services? There are plenty of sources that list negotiation tactics for sales, but very few tell you how to use them to your own advantage.
In that spirit, we offer six strategies you can use to come out on top in purchasing negotiations.
Good guy/bad guy
The good guy/bad guy selling strategy is widely used in sales. One person is on “your side” while the other plays hard ball. You’ve probably seen the most classic example in television crime shows when a suspect is interrogated. So how do you spin this sales tactic to your advantage? After discussing a price with the good guy, when he goes to speak with the bad guy about the negotiated price, ask to be present for the exchange. Tell them you want to see how they are going to get the price you want. Typically, the good guy will tell you that is not feasible, but you need to insist on it. In doing so you will not only take away the tactics leverage, you will throw off any rehearsed strategy the salesman may have.
Know when to walk away
Knowing when to walk away from a negotiation is critical to your success. The supplier wants you to buy their merchandise. Maybe they have said they have given you their lowest price point, but you want it lower. Walking away from a negotiation at the right time can not only establish your authority, it can also swing the pricing in your favor.
Steer clear of ranges
This sales tactic allows the salesman to avoid giving you an exact price. Instead they will offer a range of prices for their product, of which your final negotiated price could be on the low or high end (most likely the high). The low end of the price range will reel you into the discussion, when in reality they intend on starting negotiation on the high end of the range. That way, you will meet in the middle rather than getting the low offer you thought you could get based on the range they originally offered.
Remember: it’s not a two round fight
Just because someone offered the first price point and you countered doesn’t mean the negotiation is over. Continue trying to drive the price down as much as you can. The negotiation isn’t over until a contract is signed.
Separate facts from emotions
Any good salesperson will know how to manipulate emotions in a negotiation – it’s what makes them great at their job. When they try to use tactics to relate to you on an emotional or personal level, remember to keep the facts of the discussion at the forefront. The facts will help you discover the value of their product, whereas emotions will not tell you how their product will benefit your business.
Present alternatives and provide evidence to show you are willing to compromise
Equally, any good salesperson knows that there needs to be compromise in order to make a deal. You are not going to settle for their first offer. For you, that is a just a starting point. Although having alternatives and evidence is useful for their negotiation strategy, you should also be prepared with your own alternatives. Make the salesman compromise for the betterment of your business, after all, isn’t that why you are buying their product in the first place?
Negotiation is a two way street and you don’t have to settle for their first offer. Sales people use these tactics to get the results they want, but it’s your results that matter the most. Always remember to get the most value you can for your business, because it’s their product your buying, and you’re the one who is in control.