by Susan Paige
Negotiation is a prerequisite to scoring the best deal. In the olden days, it didn’t much matter what you were looking to purchase – negotiation was at the heart of every deal. Traditional systems of bartering and bargaining remain in many places around the world, notably the Middle East, Latin America, parts of Asia, and across Africa. As human beings, we are always looking to get the best deal – the biggest bang for our buck. And why not? When you work so hard to acquire whatever it is that you have, it’s important to protect what you have as best you can. We can learn a great deal about the art of negotiation by our interactions with others in a competitive environment. In much the same way as a skilled online poker player can size up his opponents before he makes a play for the pot, savvy operators can direct the flow of tough negotiations.
The price on anything is always negotiable because the price you will get is always determined by what the buyer is prepared to pay. Of course, there are a few notable exceptions where sellers have a virtual monopoly on prices such as medication for life-threatening diseases such as insulin or anti-retroviral drugs. With everything else, there is at least some room for negotiation. Ask guys like Phil Ivey, Sammy Farha, or Doyle Brunson – these hotshots have the gift of the gab from relentless grinding sessions in games of poker. There are striking similarities between a high-stakes game of Texas Hold’em poker and a corporate deal. In all cases, there is one underlying constant, and that is skilful negotiations. If you have the gift of the gab, you will be able to save yourself a bundle and get yourself exactly what you want – the best deal. Nowhere is this more evident than poker tables at 888poker where legends of the game routinely compete against one another to take down monster pots. It’s about playing the poker player as much as it is playing your cards. The same can be said of negotiations at corporate level.
Let’s get the proverbial ball rolling with 5 incredible negotiation tactics that may land you the best deal:
- Playing Hardball – Let’s assume you are shopping around for a certified pre-owned vehicle. There are loads of automobile companies, private sellers, and online shopping portals that you can access to score the best deal. If you wait, you will invariably pick up a great deal anyway, given that new cars and the passage of time makes older cars redundant. Dealers and other sellers realize that they’ve got to push merchandise off their floors as quickly as possible. Too much time wasted results in another year added to the age of the vehicle. When playing hardball, it’s important to stick to the facts.
What is the vehicle worth? Do a little research into the book value of the certified vehicle you’re looking at. Be sure to take the condition of the vehicle into account, the mileage, the accident history, and the location (at the coast, inland, in the desert etc.) as this can affect the condition of the vehicle dramatically. Vehicles that have spent several years at the coast are susceptible to rust, thereby decreasing their resale value on the market.
Certain brands hold their value well, while others don’t. If you’re in the market for a Lexus, you can expect the car to last you a lot longer and be priced a lot higher than a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW of the equivalent age and mileage. When you are shopping for a vehicle – whether new or used – factor all of these things into the equation. You should be prepared to pay closer to market price on a higher quality vehicle. That doesn’t mean that you should not negotiate – on the contrary. Always negotiate because dealers expect a little haggling on their merchandise. Legendary poker players like Phil Ivey have some of the best cars in the world, and they got them through skilful gameplay. Phil Ivey’s Bugatti rivals Patrik Antonius’ Aston Martin, which is a step up from Dario Minieri’s Porsche Cayman. Sharp online poker minds and fast cars go hand-in-hand!
- Who’s in Charge Around Here?
And while you’re at it, try and cut out the middleman and go straight to the manager. The middleman is there to make some money for himself – that’s not your concern. In the US, haggling with dealers is expected at some degree – but not to the extent where it creates a fuss in the store. If a dealership feels that its reputation will be damaged by an unhappy customer, they may well be prepared to offer you a better deal to see you walk away happy!
Haggling with the sales clerk at the grocery store is not going to do you much good. You are better off going to customer service, or asking a manager for assistance. It’s important to understand who you’re dealing with when you ask: ‘Who’s in Charge Around Here?’ If somebody’s being paid commission to sell you something, then yes, you should either sweettalk them or go above them to get a better deal.
If you have made previous purchases with a realtor, or with a seller, you may be inclined to ask them for a loyalty discount, or to skim something off the top. It’s important to prime them into understanding that your patronage is based on their response. If they give you a good deal, you’re a serious buyer.
Luckily, when you play for big money at places like 888poker you don’t have to worry about the middleman – it’s your Texas Hold’em acumen against other players – winner scoops the pot. As an established player in the game – whether it’s online poker, or the game of life – you will always get a better deal, because you’ve got one thing that your opponents don’t have – respect.
- Intimidation and Trash Talking
When you’re looking to score the best deal – being polite may not always be the best way. There are all sorts of techniques you can adopt to lay the platform for effective negotiations. For example, the Australian cricket team is renowned for its trash talking ability against opponents. This is known as ‘sledging’. When the batsmen of the opposing team are on the wicket, and crowded out by the wicketkeeper, the slips, the silly mid-off and other players, the Australians gang up against the batsmen and try and throw him off his game.
This is common in sports, and it works. You may have seen professional card players engaged in poker trash talking. The goal is to mentally break down your opponent to get them to slip up and do something that you want them to do. Of course, in negotiations everything has to be legal, but you have carte blanche to use your words wisely. There are multiple instances of trash talking paying off.
Consider how the Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor fight became the biggest super bout in boxing history. The only reason that it generated such hysteria and such an immense payday was that both fighters were trash talking for the best deal. It was highly unlikely that an MMA fighter in McGregor was going to KO a boxing champion in a boxing match.
It’s like tying the kickboxer’s legs behind his back and asking him to win the fight with half of his potential. Did the negotiation tactic work? Absolutely! Both fighters went 8 rounds and both got paid out an absolute fortune. Were it not for their trash talking and the media frenzy they created, the HBO views and the Las Vegas payday would have been significantly reduced.
- Always Be Prepared to Walk Away
Often, the best approach is a silent protest. If you don’t get what you’re looking for, simply pick up your briefcase and walk out. There’s no need to raise a ruckus, bring the house down, or yell and scream at people. At the end of the day, they need your business. There are plenty of places to buy cars, expensive jewellery, or a dream home. If the price is not right, you don’t need to pay it. Many more deals have been made by people who are prepared to walk away than anything else.
Consider this: One of the most important rules of play in Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo and other high-stakes poker online games is to fold a weak hand and only to play a premium starting hand. This is what they mean by walking away!
- Have Things in Writing
Before you buy something important like major appliances, vehicles, real estate, jewellery and other luxury items, it’s always a clever idea to get some sort of written or electronic communication about the deal. That way, when you go in to make the purchase, you’ve got something in hand to show the seller. All too often, it’s this lack of written evidence that presents problems when you’re trying to forge a good deal. Just because something was said in good faith doesn’t mean that both parties will agree to it when push comes to shove. Once it’s written down and agreed upon, it is ironclad.