The prices quoted in brochures for items such as conservatories, fitted kitchens or double glazing, are always vastly inflated. They give the sales person room to offer substantial discounts to clinch the deal with customers who are unsure, yet allow the company to make a reasonable profit.
But, at the same time, these astronomical prices still offer the outside possibility that some wally with money to burn will come along and pay the full asking price without question. It’s your job to carve as much off their profit margin you can. It’s often possible to save up to 50% off the price quoted in the brochure. That should be your goal.
Step 1) Start by saying ‘I understand that your company is running a special offer on this item’. After all, these businesses always have an incentive of some type or other running.
Step 2) Consider the best price that they claim they can offer then hit them with ‘You’re not making it very easy for me to do business with you’. They may be prepared to do better just to close the sale, rather than just walking away after all their effort with nothing to show for it.
If they offer you credit, ask what type of discount is available if you pay in full as soon as the work is completed. They may just agree to an extra special price if the business needs to improve its cash flow position.
When negotiating, take your time to decide over each little price concession that they make. Your whole strategy has to be one that slowly draws them in, making the time they have spent on you mount up by letting them think that they’re on the verge of a sale.
This will make it harder for them to walk away when you finally make your big discount offer. Let’s face it, after three hours of effort most would rather accept a minimal profit, than leave with nothing!
Step 3) At this stage in the price negotiations, try throwing in ‘I have been quoted £x from [name one of their competitors]’ Sales people hate to be beaten by a rival and may attempt to beat the price there and then. How are they meant to know what price you have or haven’t been quoted elsewhere?
Step 4) If they make an improved offer, claiming that it’s the best that they can manage, it’s time to move in for the kill. Tell them that you can’t afford to pay that much, state what you can afford (a figure which conveniently shaves another few percent off the price!) and then challenge them to accept that price.
Provided they’re left with an element of profit in the deal, they’re likely to accept it rather than let a perfectly good sale slip through their fingers. This is particularly true if they still have certain sales targets to meet. It may not be as big a profit as they would have liked, but then they can’t hope to knock down a coconut every time!
Don’t let them rush your decision with ‘special’ once-in-a-lifetime, never to be repeated deals. Deals that are as good, if not better, will be available tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. After all, they will still have goods to shift and commission to earn!
by Stuart Laing
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