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Negotiating Skills: Purchasing Strategy

When you are looking to purchase something or are trying to sell something, it is important to possess strong negotiation skills. Not everyone is good at negotiating—many are intimidated by "confrontation" or "conflict", and perceive negotiation to be along those lines. For those who do not like to negotiate, but find themselves frequently in situations that require basic negotiation skills (i.e. buying a car), here are some ideas to help you overcome your fears and become a successful negotiator:

Know the product/service value. Regardless of what you are purchasing, know the inherent value of the product or service prior to entering into negotiations for purchase. Understanding the value is critical to effective negotiation, as you can better determine how much the seller will negotiate on their product/service.

Also, don't forget the sentimental value of an item to a seller. This can weigh into the purchase price of an unobjective seller.

Understand your seller and their motivation. Research the seller and their motivation for wanting to negotiate with you on a product/service. Know all you can about the seller, their company, their product/service offerings, etc before you begin negotiations with them. This gives you the advantage in positioning over the seller because you will have done your homework.

Research purchase prices of similar items. Before you begin negotiating with a seller, make sure you are aware of the competition's price point and marketplace vantage point. This will give you leverage in either direction as you work with the seller to come to an agreeable purchase price for the product/service you are trying to buy.

Know in advance what you will spend. Part of your research should include price shopping. Know the acceptable rates for which something will sell, and pre-determine how much you will spend on a product or service. While in the negotiation phase, it is easy to be swayed from what you determine you will pay for an item or service—make sure you stick to what your budget dictates.

Poker face—don't show your hand. Even if what you are about to purchase is the biggest dream of your life, do not show your hand. Don't let the seller know how excited you are, or you could lose your vantage point as the buyer. The seemingly disinterested buyer is much more valuable to the seller than the over-eager one. If you seem disinterested, or use the "take it or leave it" approach, you will gain significant ground toward purchasing the product or service at the price point you want without compromising the integrity of the sale or the value of the product or service you are purchasing.

Be willing to walk away. If the seller is not really motivated, they will not budge on price or timeframe or some other aspect of the sale. The strongest point you can make in negotiating a product/service is your willingness to walk away from the sale. If you stick to your pre-purchase decisions, and don't allow the seller to sway you from what you know you can handle financially, it is easier to walk away.

Go into the negotiation with the attitude that you will walk away from the product/service being sold AT THIS TIME. This does not mean you have to wait indefinitely—it may simply mean that you need to find a different seller in order to purchase the product you want.
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