The Negotiator Magazine

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Finding Out How Much a Seller Will Take

Now let's look at some techniques to find out the seller's lowest price. When you are buying, the negotiating range of the seller ranges from the wish price (what they're hoping you'll pay) all the way down to the walk-away price (at anything less that this they will not sell at all). The same is true in reverse with the buyer. How do we uncover the seller's walk-away price? Let's say that your neighbor is asking $15,000 for his pick-up truck.

Here are some techniques you can use to uncover his lowest price.

Of course, the way that you ask for his lowest price makes a big difference.

Try these approaches:

"I'm really interested only in a pick up truck for occasional use, not one as fine as yours. I'm looking at one that the owner's asking only $5,000 for. However, I thought I'd be fair to you and ask you what the least you'd take would be."

Or the Reluctant Buyer approach after spending a lot of time looking it over and asking questions you say, "I really appreciate all the time you've taken with me on this, but unfortunately its not what I was looking for. But I wish you the best of luck with it." Then, when you're halfway into your car to leave you say, "Look, I really want to be fair to you because you spent so much time with me, so just to be fair to you, what is the very lowest price you would let it go for?"

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November 2004