How to negotiate a sale

Time for a guest blog post, this time from Tim Lyon. Tim has an interesting story on how a high street store lost his custom because of their lack of negotiation skills – and gives some advice on how to negotiate a sale.

At a recent Negotiation Skills Workshop I was asked whether an attempted ‘haggle’ can ever be turned to the seller’s advantage.  I think the answer is “yes” but it does require skill.

A few months ago I read about a new Fuji camera which had had rave reviews and which retailed at £275, with an internet price of around £240.  It seemed just what I wanted and, since I was in town, I took myself into a well known high street camera shop.  The conversation went like this:

“Excuse me,” I said to the assistant, “could you tell me your best price on the Fuji please?”

“What does it say on the ticket?” he retorted.

“£275,” said I.

“Then that’s my best price.”

“No room to manoeuvre?” I enquired.


Hmmm.  A bit of a lose/lose situation there.  He did not get a sale and I did not get a camera.  So how could it have gone?  Maybe something like this:

“Excuse me,” I said to the assistant, “could you tell me your best price on the new Fuji please?”

“That’s an excellent choice of choice of camera, sir.  I am sure you have read the reviews.  To be honest they are flying off the shelves as fast as I can get them in so I really cannot discount them.  Would you like to look at it?”

And of course I would and handling the thing and seeing what it can do would increase my desire to purchase even further. Suppose I then said: “I know I can buy one off the web for £240.”

“I know, sir. I just cannot compete with web prices and again with this camera I really don’t have to.  All I would say is that if ever you had a problem you know exactly where to find us to get it put right – which is not so easy when you buy from websites.  I’ll tell you what: there is an accessory pack with this camera which contains an excellent mini tripod, a 3gb SD card, a protective case and Fuji’s photo handling software which I use all the time.  It retails at £45 but I can discount that for you, so what I could do is bundle the camera and accessory kit together for £290 saving you £30.  I must check to make sure there is a camera left in stock, but how does that sound?”

Now, would I have bought it?  Quite possibly.  He had made it clear why he did not need to discount and he had whetted my appetite further.  He had given me a good reason to buy from the High Street despite the price differential and he had found a potential win/win solution.

At the very least I would have left the store impressed by his skill and service, rather than what actually happened which was that I left thinking the guy was a prat, resolved never to shop there again and enjoyed telling the tale of his ineptitude to loads of people – now including you.

About the Author

Tim Lyon is a trainer of many years’ experience.  He specialises in helping people to discover and develop the essentials skills that they need to be successful in business. Typical topics for training sessions would be Presentation Skills, Selling Skills, Negotiation Skills, Networking Skills and Customer Service Skills. He works with businesses of all sizes and is as happy helping sole traders as he is with major corporations. Recently a delegate described Tim as having the five ‘E’s; Energy, Enthusiasm, Experience, Expertise and Empathy!  Tim also believes that training should be tailored in terms of content and delivery to meet individual needs and always likes to discuss a client’s issues to ensure the best fit. You can contact Tim on 07790 672030.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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