The Negotiator Magazine

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Tip Number Eight: Qualify your prospective buyers.
There are occasions where you may be wasting your time negotiating with a customer. If you think a buyer may be out of your price range (either below it or above it), ask: "What kind of budget are we looking at?" or "What range are we looking at here?" You may want to let them know that you are not in the same range. You may want to sell them a more or less expensive item. Or you may want to fit them into an exception category -- provided you can save face.

Tip Number Nine: How to deal with three typical buyer tactics.

  1. The Flinch: The buyer says, "Your price is what!" and they start choking. Your response: Silence. They just wanted to see if they could get a reaction out of you. Don't react. It's a test. Be persistent. Repeat your price and justify it as in Tip Number Five.
  2. The Squeeze: The buyer tells you, "You have to do better!" or "I can get it for less." Your response:
    1. Sell your unique qualifications. Take the focus off of the price. Get them to agree that yours is the one they want, and that the price is only a technicality. If they really want yours, they will find a way to pay for it. Remember my story of the competitor who offered to speak for nothing. Just because the buyer has a potential vendor with a lower price doesn't mean that they want that vendor.
    2. Tie a string. Offer to reduce your price only in return for additional volume, or a commitment to purchase other products at full price.
  3. The Sob Story: They cry, "All I have in my budget is…" or "All we can afford is…" Your response:
    1. Don't budge. Call their bluff. They may be testing to see how firm your price is.
    2. Ask, "Are there any other budgets you can draw from?" Their budget for your product or service may not be the only one available to them.

Tip Number Ten: Leave the customer feeling satisfied.
Whatever you do, remember that your objective is to create a satisfied customer. How to satisfy your customers without lowering your price:

  1. Be a good listener. Allow them to get their gripes about your price off their chest. They will thank you for being patient with them.
  2. Help them to accept your fee by providing reasonable justification.
  3. Sell your unique strengths. Believe in yourself.

The major obstacle that prevents salespeople from receiving the price they want is the fear of rejection. One way of dealing with this fear is to lower your price. A better way is to overcome your fear by schooling yourself in assertive negotiation techniques. When you do it right, both you and your customer will feel a sense of satisfaction. Ultimately, your belief in yourself and your product or service will be your best weapon. Your confidence will be rewarded.


Ed Brodow is a motivational speaker and negotiation guru on PBS, Fox News, and Inside Edition. He is the author of Beating the Success Trap and Negotiate With Confidence. This article is excerpted from his new book entitled Negotiation Boot Camp which will be published by Doubleday in 2006. For more information on his keynotes and seminars, call 831-372-7270, e-mail ed@brodow.com and visit his web site at NegotiationBootCamp.com

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November 2005