Negotiating Tip 104: Timing For A Discount

Written by John Hamilton Posted On Sunday, 22 January 2023 00:00

When “timing” trumps “technique”

I often hear from some of my 'good negotiators' that a particular technique didn't work or their attempt to get a good deal didn't pan out.  They even inquire as to what they might be doing wrong. 

Upon closer examination two things seem to be evident.

  • First, in the situation they describe, they did get the best deal possible.  Just because they didn't get their price or achieve that big discount, that is no reason to feel that they didn't negotiate properly.
  • Second, the details of that same situation revealed that the problem might have been 'timing' more than technique.

To address this latter point, I remind you of the best times to get a discount or better deal.

A discount is more  likely to come your way when:

  1. 1. You're patient and wait for the urgency for the deal to turn in your favor.
  2. 2. You're willing to buy the floor or the demonstration model.  If you don't see one, ask if they have one.
  3. 3. There is minor (and inconsequential) damage to the item or its packaging.  Damaged goods are a burden to retailers and people willing to 'take them off our hands' can achieve quite a bargain.  How much?  Ask for a lot.  50 - 75% off isn't an insulting offer or ask them 'what can you do for me on this damaged item?'.
  4. 4. A competing retailer is having a sale, vendors are more willing to 'match' their competitor on a case by case, specific request basis.
  5. 5. It is a slow sales season or period (or the end of a shopping season).  Many items are prone to sell quickly during some periods, while at other times they languish on the shelf a long time.  It is obvious when the best deals will be most likely.
  6. 6. Buying in quantity!  Moving a large volume can prompt vendors to give a discount.  The volume does not have to be huge.  I've asked for and received good discounts just buying two items.  Oh yes, they don't even have to be the same items.  Example:  Buy a sofa and get a discount on lamps or end tables.
  7. 7. You can send more business their way.  Vendors are open to 'rewarding' people who can tell their friends, relatives, business associates and others about their products or services.  Be specific and even ask for a card or brochure that you intend to personally give to the referral.

Good negotiators know that a discount isn't possible in every situation.  But they also know the optimum times and situations to ask for one.  They remember that timing is everything!

KEEP Negotiating. 

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