In my free time over a week ago, I went to a friend’s wedding. While it took me away from the act of moving into our new home, it was a nice opportunity to relax and wind down for a bit. I don’t get many opportunities to do that much anymore. My wife was in the wedding, so I had to take up my time just hanging out around the hotel. At least that is what I thought. My sister-in-law and her fiance were also going to the wedding, so I did have the chance to hang out with them. As I was relaxing in my hotel room, they gave me a call and said they were going car shopping. Her fiance has been looking for a specific car and one was less than an hour away. We had quite a few hours to kill before the wedding, so I said I was in. On the trip down to the car dealership, I started thinking about the art of negotiation. No matter where you buy your car, there is always negotiating involved. Not being involved in the car sale, I was able to sit back and see how it is done.
The Sale Starts At the First Hello
Most of us have probably stepped foot on a car dealership before. No matter if the dealer is selling new or used cars, the act is still the same. You go around the lot looking for a car and then the salesman comes out to meet you. I have been to a few dealerships where the salesman were looking out the windows and hooking onto their prey (I mean prospective buyers) and never letting go. It can be dangerous out there. Salesman make a living by closing the deal. They can know how well the process is going to go from the first hello. It is up to you to make sure you get the best deal possible. Be prepared, act informed, and ask for what you want.
I was looking over the car before the salesman came up to the fiance. Since I know my cars and what to look for, he was happy to have me there. I didn’t want to impose, but when cars are in my presence, I have a natural progression when I look them over. The salesman stepped up and said hello and then shook his hand, along with my sister-in-law and my own. It is more relaxing knowing you don’t have to go through negotiating with salesman. I don’t like the process, but understand it well. I could tell the salesman knew a sale was imminent after he asked his first question. He simply asked if we were interested in the car we were looking at. Once he got the answer of “yes,” he knew the sale was on.
Never Give too Much Information
Salesman in any industry thrive off information. They can’t proceed with a sale without getting the right information. They also can’t do it without getting the right answers. There is a reason why you get so many questions during the negotiating process. They are vetting you to see what information they can get. The more information you give, they more they have to work off of. I am not saying be short with salesman, just give them precise answers.
While I tend to be very personable, I don’t give salespeople too much to work from. When they ask me questions, I form my answers in simple, yet short sentences. Salespeople probably think I am just being an ass, but I am being calculated. I never want them to think they have the upper hand, nor do I want them to think they have an “easy” sale. Dealing with me is never easy. Just ask my Realtor. When I am about to start negotiating with salespeople, I tend to keep a few tricks up my sleeve. One of my favorites is what I am going to describe next.
The “Walkout” Method
There is not too much to this method, but I have found it works quite well. When I am negotiating with salespeople, I will feel out how the sale is going and then use this if I am not getting what I want. No, it is not a whiny way or sad way to deal with not getting my way. It is a way to make sure I control the art of the sale. I have been a salesman before. I know when they are needing to close a deal and when they could let one slip away.
In order to make this method work, you actually have to be willing to walk away from the sale. For some, this is hard to do. Going through all of the negotiating and paperwork can be tiring. Also, some people love the thought of owning that “new” thing so badly, they let their guard down. I don’t handle sales in that manner. I typically go into a sale in a calculated fashion. I know the numbers I need and am not afraid to move on if I can’t hit them.
When my sister-in-law’s fiance was in the negotiation, I was outside checking out cars. I guess I can’t resist the urge. Time was getting close to when we needed to leave for the wedding, so I went back in. He was sitting at the desk trying to get the salesman to get to a specific number. He had a number in his mind that he wanted to hit. As he spoke to the salesman, he looked over and asked what I thought. The numbers were a little high for some of their fees, so I told him to ask for lower fees. This is what the salesman said.
Everyone else on this street charges this fee. We all charge it and it will be hard for you to find it lower.
This type of salesman irritates me. You are telling me that just because everyone else on the street is doing the same thing, then you are justifying it. I hate when companies do that. Running a successful business is all about doing something different. While you can sell the same product, you should do something different. Differentiate yourself from the competition. That is how you succeed.
I decided to call him out on this fact and he couldn’t even say anything. His eyes got wide and his mind started churning. It was great for me as I knew I caught him off-guard. When you do that, then you know you have the upper hand. I then told the fiance to just walk away if they are unwilling to match what you need. He told the salesman and all of the sudden the talk changed. He was working hard to make the sale work. He had to go back and forth to the sales manager to get the deal approved. After some time, it was done.
This is exactly how the walkout method works. You tell the salesperson you are walking out and see what happens. If they say OK, then you have to walk out. If you don’t, then you will never get a deal. They know they will have you. If this sale had fallen apart, then the fiance was willing to walk out. He knew he didn’t have to sign anything that day. He controlled the sale well and got what he wanted. This is the perfect scenario for the walkout method. As I said, I have used this method over and over again. I probably have a 95% success rate. This is why it is my go-to negotiation method.
Have you used the “walkout” method when negotiating during a sale?
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