Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday’s Negotiating Tip:

Practice! Practice! Practice! While I believe that negotiation is a science and not an art, there is one aspect that is truly art-like and that is practice. The more you practice strategy, planning, tactics and skills, the better your negotiations will be.

The best place to practice is…everywhere! I try to negotiate everything, at least anything over $25. The reason is not that I always need to save money or that I want to play with people, but that I want to practice to develop my skills for the big deals. The more you try it the more the skills and tactics become natural to you.

Try this. The skill is patience. The tactic is “is that the best you can do?” The assignment is to try out this skill/tactic combination 10 times over the next few weeks every time you can. Patience is the most effective skill in your repertoire if you can learn to master it. Outside of the US this skill is used frequently and it is very effective on Americans. We are a nation of speed and immediate gratification. When you slow things down in a negotiation the other party always wants to speed them back up. Often they do this by giving you information or better pricing, both of which hurt their position. So take the tactic and ask the person you are negotiating with “is that the best you can do for me?” and shut up. Shut up so long that it is painful. It’s like doing the tenth rep with free weights or running an extra mile. It is painful and you will want to scream when you get through. The silence between you both is deafening. See how long it takes for one of you to speak, and if you speak first, you lose.

Once you develop your patience skill, start noticing how the other party seems like they just have to talk. The longer you are patient and quiet, the more beans they will spill. I’ve done this on many occasions and have had excellent results. Once you feel like you have mastered this try looking at them straight in the eye and being silent! You’ll be surprised what a salesperson can do for you when they have too much time to talk! You’ll save money as you practice, practice, practice.

Saving On Hobby Spending

The power of the internet to help me save cash always amazes me. I'm a model railroader. Basically, I play with scale model trains in the basement. It is a huge hobby with millions of people, mostly men, who manufacture scale empires of rail and plastic in their home. I've been doing it all my life and now have a large room in the basement (two actually) to just trains.

My hobby has gotten quite expensive and one of the largest expenses I have is for magazine subscriptions. Between my National Model Railroad Association dues (magazine), Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette and others, I spend over $200 per year in just magazines. Well, that may all be at an end.

The Model Railroad Hobbyist is now publishing a high quality on line magazine for FREE! And not only is it a great magazine it has video, audio and full multi media ability. Incredible. I'm thinking that we'll see more and more of this as magazines continue to die here in the US.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday’s Negotiating Tip:

While it is advantageous in many ways to use win/win strategies where both sides get what they want, sometimes it is either not possible or not practical. Several times I’ve used my skills to get fantastic deals only to feel guilty later that I had somehow taken advantage of the other party. This is not good and makes for some restless nights.

If a negotiation goes too far your way, try to keep it from being a win/destroy outcome. Win/lose is something most people can accept. One of the ways I’ve overcome this mistake in the past is to come up with a way to refund some of the money. In one instance I negotiated a super deal with a fellow who turned out to be in deeper financial trouble than he let inferred. He had no choice but to accept my ridiculously low opening offer because he was afraid of not having the money that day to make his rent payment. I knew the guy to be a bit of a horse trader so I didn’t take his opening banter seriously. During the negotiation I even sweetened my deal and coerced him into giving me attachments for the item I bought for free, including a new case.

After I found out that he really wasn’t kidding and was having a hard time I felt very bad about the deal. Your conscience can make even the sweetest deal sour. To make up for the mistake I made up a reason to give him some of the money back by saying that the attachments he gave me were worth more than I thought and I felt like I should pay him for the excess cost. He was happy with the deal and we are still friends, even though I still had hurt him.

When you know that you make a mistake, do what you can to make up for it. No one refuses returned money. You never know when you’ll need that friend.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday’s Negotiating Tip:

Numbers are a negotiator’s best friend. Being prepared with empirical information makes your arguments strong and hard to penetrate. Often when I’ve showed up to a negotiation with a strong case backed up with good information, the other side has completely folded. This has happened even when I provided the numbers ahead of time.

Let’s buy a new water heater. You always PREPARE before you negotiate. First, go log on to the computer and start researching water heaters. Take a file folder and fill it full of printouts that show what water heater is best and what the competitive prices are. Know what options are available, what average delivery and installation charges are, what options are available and which ones are on sale. Once you have this data, convert it to information. I often use simple spreadsheets that have the main models/brands that I like, the lowest prices and their locations and all the charges that I can find listed below. Then select the best deal from the options.

When you go to the Do-It-Yourself store carry this information with you. Explain that you want to buy the Superboiler 9000 for the best low price that you found if their price is higher. Be sure to discuss delivery, installation and all other costs that you regard as important to you. Once all their pricing is exposed bring out your information. Show the salesperson where they are off and request that they comply with the current information. It is virtually impossible for the salesperson to say “well, we provide better model or more extras” because you have the hard facts sitting right in front of them. They have no choice but to lower the price or lose the sale.

Although it is changing, the vast majority of retail sales people are not trained to handle numbers presented in this fashion. I hope your numbers are saving you money!

View Our Guest Blog!

Scott says...

Hey, wow, Marie! I see you are guest blogging now. Check it out on the SAVING YOUR CENTS blog...

This is a great site and the lady that manages it is super! She is always so helpful and friendly. If you have not checked out her blog, I'd recommend that you do so today!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday’s Negotiating Tip:

Attitude is contagious. If you walk into work with a smile and a happy outlook it will be picked up by everyone you come into contact with. Well, everyone but the angry guy that pours coffee on your head because he’s not a morning person. Likewise, if you are angry or hostile, the person across the table from you will pick that up and most of the time they will hand it right back to you. The attitude you bring to the negotiation will often set the tone for the entire conversation.

Try to go into the negotiation with a happy and helpful attitude. If you are grouchy on Monday mornings, then don’t engage in negotiations at that time. When the person you are negotiating with comes to the table angry or with a negative attitude, try to turn them to them away from the dark side of the force.

One of the ways I try to change the other person’s attitude is by giving them a heavy dose of positive attitude. Really, it is hard to continue to be mad at someone who is excited, happy and helpful. Take time to get to know them when you first start and see if you can find some common ground that you can talk about such as family, hobbies or sports. If you still can’t break the attitude offer to postpone the negotiation until another time.

Often, when negative attitudes prevail the outcome is lose/lose. It can lead to hurt feelings, insults and deals that are hard to follow through on. It will completely sap your creativity. Happiness will mean saving money!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Online Store Deals

Many of the online stores are having some WINTER sales right now. Check out the list below.

Old Navy - 10% off an order of $75 or more - use code SAVENOW

The Children's Place - Monster Sale - save an additional 30% on Clearance items

J Jill - End of Season Clearance and Extra 40% off

Eddie Bauer - Ultimate Winter Sale - up to 50% off

Land's End - Winter's End Savings Event - up to 50% off

Cabela's - Mid-Winter Sale - up to 60% off

Newport News - Last Chance Winter Sale - up to 80% off

Tuesday’s Negotiating Tip:

I can’t stress enough the importance of a positive outlook when negotiating. Several times I’ve heard “really, I don’t think they will go for that” or “there’s no way they will drop the price that much.” The fact of the matter is that you never really know. That’s why I approach each negotiation with a positive outlook and reinforce this by remembering the times I’ve gotten a great deal even though I thought it would never happen.

My brother is skewed a bit to the negative side. He called me in to help him negotiate the purchase of a house. This was a few years ago when housing was at a premium in Atlanta and often you paid more than the asking price for certain homes. When the first attempt at a house fell through, he was quite discouraged. I told him to hang in there and we’d try again.

He found another home that he liked and he told me right away that there is no way the builder would come down on the price. How did he know that? He didn’t. He just pushed his emotions onto the deal and all the negativity went into his perception of the negotiation. After a short chat or two with the real estate agent I found out some wonderful things. First, the builder had passed away and his son had taken over the business. This house was the first one that he the son had built. My brother is an engineer and he and I confirmed the fact because the house was not only well built but was in fact over-built. The young builder had not sold a home on his own and it was December, so I picked up that it was urgent for him to move this property so that he didn’t incur taxes and more payments.

With only a short period of actual negotiation I submitted a take-it-or-leave it offer and was able to get the house for him for $32,000 below the asking price. This was because I approached the negotiation with a positive outlook for success and an open mind to new information. I’m positive that you can do this to save money!

Monday, January 12, 2009

BOGO at Chick Fil A

If you live near Buford, GA - the new Chick Fil A on Hamilton Mill is having a Receipt Day this Friday January 16th.

Here is how it works

  • Save your receipt from your purchase on Jan 16th.
  • Take the receipt back in with you on another visit.
  • All items on your receipt from the 16th are FREE.

Offer good for 30 days. Party trays are NOT included.

So, essentially, you Buy One - Get One FREE.

Menu Plan Monday

Marie says...

I've got jury duty this week - for the first time ever in my life. Up until now, neither my husband nor I have ever been called. I guess we have lived in one place long enough now.

Since I am really not sure what this week will hold for me, this menu could radically change. But for now, here is my plan.

OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday has lots more weekly menus.

Monday - Frozen Pizza - it's just me tonight and I want to spend time blogging. :)

Tuesday - Risotto with Spinach and Turkey Sausage - All You mag Oct 2008

Wednesday - Dinner at church

Thursday -Turkey Scollopini, rice, salad

Friday - Chicken Casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday - Tacos, black beans, rice

Sunday - Chicken Soup with tortellini

Enjoy !!

Drugstores Shopping Roundup

Yesterday, I made the rounds to the local drugstores.


CVS really had nothing that I wanted or needed. So I used some ECB's to get 2 newspapers for more inserts. I might go and get some more SoyJoy later this week.

RiteAid - Huggies Pullup bonus here !

  • 2 packs of Huggies NiteTime Pullups - $9.99 each
  • 2 packs of Huggies washcloths - $3.49 each
  • 6 Reese's Whipps - $0.50 each
  • 2 boxes Ziploc sandwich and snack bags
  • 1 Coke
Coupons Used:
  • $5 off $25 Rite Aid
  • 2- $1.00 Huggies Cleaning
  • 2 - $2.00 Huggies Pullups
  • 3 - $1.00/2 Reese's Whipps
  • 1 - $1.00/2 Ziploc bags
  • Rite Aid ad coupon for Ziploc bags
Total: $37.28
Paid OOP: $21.78
Single Check Rewards: $4.00 + $10.00 Kimberly Clark Gift Card

Savings: 42%

Walgreen's - Free Oust, Free Equal, Cheap Lysol

2 - Kleenex Tissues
2 - boxes of Equal - 100 packets each
1 - Revlon Matte Lipstick
4 - Oust Air Freshener - BOGO
4 - Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
2 - Colgate TOTAL
1 - Aquafresh Extreme Clean

Coupons Used:
  • 5 - $0.75 off Lysol
  • 2 - $0.40 off Kleenex
  • Walgreens ad - $0.30 off each Kleenex
  • 2 - BOGO Oust
  • 2 - $1.50 off Colgate
  • 2 - $2.50 Equal
  • Walgreens ad - Equal 2/$5.00
  • 2 - $2.00 Revlon cosmetic item
Total: $42.91
Paid OOP: $10.41
EasySaver Rewards earned: $7.99

Savings: 76%

Monday’s Negotiating Tip:

We’re all concerned about the environment. What about your negotiating environment? When you negotiate the environment can strongly affect the outcome. Here in the South if you are buying a car the first thing the dealer tries to do after you look at a car sitting on the 100+ degree parking lot is to get you back into the air conditioned dealership. Often they will get you a cool bottle of spring water to whet your whistle. This consideration of your primary comfort needs is admirable, and it is carefully orchestrated.

The less you look at the car, the fewer questions you’ll ask and the fewer objections to buying they will encounter. If you want to test drive the car, they’ll even send a lot jockey out to cool the car down and then bring it to the dealer’s front door to keep you comfortable. All of this makes it easier for you to say “yes.”

Well, I like the heat. About a year ago I went looking for a pickup truck in July. The temperature was hovering around 98 degrees and it had not rained for days. The cars were covered in a light dust from the hot wind blowing. Advantage, me! I kept the poor salesperson outside for an hour as we discussed every single item on the shiny red truck. With every ounce of sweat the price dropped and extras were added on.

Negotiate in your preferred environment, not theirs. The added advantage will save you money!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday's Negotiating Tip:

Bad guys always wear plaid. Well, maybe not. But one thing to always avoid is someone who is not an experienced salesperson or negotiator. Many people I’ve talked to over the years have said that they wanted to avoid experienced sales pros, fearing that they will be “taken” or spend too much money. I’ve not found this to be the case. In fact, I’ve found just the opposite is true.

A good salesperson understands that a one time sale that leaves the buyer unsatisfied will not turn into a repeat sale later on. Car dealers rely heavily on repeat customers. Experienced sales people are more likely to know ways to work around special problems and provide creative solutions to help satisfy your needs. Also, the top producing sales pros can pick up on your buying signals and will approach the sale in a manner that best caters to your needs and your style of negotiating.

Seek out good sales professionals. Don’t just accept the first person that comes up to you in a store or a car lot. Ask them how long they’ve been in sales and how long they’ve been at the store. If it is not more than a year, ask for a more experienced person or their manager. You’ll find your buying experience to be more pleasant!

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