The Negotiator Magazine

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7. Recognize that market and street vendors are experts on price, strategy, bottom line returns and have years of experience in negotiating with tourists. In short, they have "seen it all." Your deal may be exotic to you, but your bargaining partner has lost some sales and completed many sales with tourists yesterday, today and will do so tomorrow.

8. Use your usual negotiating techniques and skills. Establish rapport with a smile and a greeting in the native language and then you will launch your work of testing out the claim that 70 percent of ordinary communication is non-verbal. You will be surprised how accurate and frustrating that claim proves to be in practice. Wait for the seller to open the bidding, use a reasonable concession strategy, bargain via calculator or fingers or gestures, thank the vendor and never lose your temper.

9. Enjoy the experience as a rich part of your travel through bringing you into contact with local entrepreneurs. Very importantly, don't forget that while you are bargaining for those objects, you should also be bargaining for the lodging, meals and transit costs.

10. Lastly, recognize that "the price of mahjong sets varies widely" and depends largely on your learning to negotiate on foreign territory. Early on a trip to China some years ago, I watched old sets sell at a "bargain price" of 4 Yuan. Then, as time went on, similar sets sold for 3 Yuan, 2 Yuan and finally 1 Yuan. There was no reported mahjong market collapse, perhaps the answer rested in better bargaining skills and experience.

There is more, of course, but hopefully this gets you started as a "savvy bargainer." Enjoy the experience,

John Baker

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April 2005