Get a new bicycle for less by following these 10 rules of negotiation

How to negotiate the price of a new bike - picture of a cool bike from flickr The only thing stranding between you and and riding away with a gorgeous new bike is the expensive price tag. In this article I will outline the rules of negotiating that will ensure you get a good deal.

Rule #1

Realise you are in power

In turbulent times when people are saving money, every sale is important to a shop. Therefore, this puts you the consumer in a good position. If they can’t lower the price, you will take your money elsewhere.

Rule #2

Do your research and decide your target

Go into the shop and get help from the assistant on which bike would be suitable for you. Don’t part with your cash yet. First, compare the prices of your chosen bike online and in other shops. Next, you need to set your target. This should usually be around 10-20% less than the marked price. However, start the negotiations at around 30-40% less.

Rule #3

Never be too enthusiastic

Don’t walk into the bike shop and be over enthusiastic. This conveys to the shop assistant that you love the bike so much that you would pay any price for it. If you are buying the bike second hand then pick out a few faults with it to lower its value.

Rule #4

Be prepared for their excuses

“Oh sorry sir we have a policy of not lowering our prices”. This is a classic line I have heard before. If they are smart they will realise that not lowering their prices will mean you will take your custom elsewhere. If they give this excuse then make sure you politely say “Okay, not a problem. Who can I speak to that will help me buy this bike today?”. Make sure you get to speak to the person in control.

Rule #5

Make them invest their time into the deal

The longer they put into the deal the more committed they will be to getting a sale. A good negotiator knows this and will ask lots of questions to keep them involved.

Rule #6

Awkward silences are your best friend

I don’t know a lot of people that like awkward silences but in negotiating they are your best friend. If they say: “Really sorry sir I don’t think I can lower the price”. Don’t rush to reply, let them sweat. It is likely in the silence they will concede and lower their price.

Rule #7

What else can they throw in?

They may decide they don’t wish to lower their price. No problem, what else can they do to sweeten the deal? Nice pair of lights? An extended warranty? A new bicycle jacket? Some vouchers? Offer them alternatives. The important part to this is how you phrase it. Don’t ask them any questions they can say no to. If you say “Is there nothing else you can do?” they can easily say no. Instead if you ask “what else can you do to sweeten the deal?” They will start to think of alternatives.

Rule #8

Be prepared to walk away

My most successful negotiations have come from taking a few steps back as if to walk away. This will usually trigger a better offer. If they still do not budge on price know when  to leave. Don’t fall into the trap of “oh well, I have been here for ages, it would be a shame to leave without a bike” (Rule 5!). If you still feel strongly about it a week later, the bike will still be there.

Rule #9

Don’t make it personal

Another tip is to say you are buying for someone else. This detaches you emotionally from the deal. “I’m buying this as a gift for one of our clients and my boss has only given me so much to spend. I know he will love it. What can you do for me?”. This stops it being between you and the salesman.

Rule #10

Most importantly: enjoy!

Negotiating does not have to be all serious. In fact some joking around and laughter can often get the shop assistant on your side.

Some people worry about negotiating. I find it enjoyable. The more I practise, the better I get and by following these simple rules I ensure that I get a good deal. If you wish to read more about negotiating I recommend the all time classic book: getting to yes. Remember, the real price of an item is the price you pay. Not the price advertised. Happy negotiating!


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Image courtesy of Andrew Nicholas

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9 Responses to Get a new bicycle for less by following these 10 rules of negotiation

  1. tincantone 06/04/2009 at 3:59 pm #

    Great tips. Being prepared to walk away is a biggie. I always find myself giving in too soon mainly cos I really want the new thing – whatever it might be. Bartering is not my strong point. Maybe I should have asked a friend who is good at bartering to do it for me…

  2. Kenneth Sena 07/04/2009 at 1:43 pm #

    thanks for this post. this can be used not just on bikes

  3. Will 14/04/2009 at 5:05 pm #

    A UK friend of mine tells me that there is some sort of new government subsidy thing going on there where the gov’t will pay 50% of cost for a new bike.

    Sorry no idea of details or restrictions

  4. Les 20/04/2009 at 7:08 pm #

    That’s a great article you’ve written regarding bargaining for a bike. Sadly it doesn’t always work.

    For instance, I run a bike hire business here in Tenerife. Even though times are pretty tough right now, just the other day I said “no” to someone who tried to weasle my prices too much.

    The standard price is €180 to rent a premium bike for 10 days (this leaves some room for price reductions). I was happy enough to go to €150. Yet he wouldn’t go higher than €130.

    For €140 I *might* have said okay.

    But here’s a lesson to you folks trying to save a few bob: for almost anyone else I would have seriously considered his offer (we are in a crisis period after all). But his attitude totally ruined the deal for me.

    Also, I could tell this guy was a “high maintanence” client. These people represent about 2% of all sales. They are extremely picky about *everything* and generally have a superiority complex to boot.

    I actually found his personality pretty offensive and quite frankly I didn’t want to see him again.

    Come to think of it, that’s the main reason I told him I couldn’t do it – because he was rude.

    The high cost of bike maintenance aside, sometimes I’d rather sit at home and not have to worry about people calling me up and complaining about “service” etc. So for me it’s not always worth it when the price is too low.

  5. Andreas 21/04/2009 at 9:31 am #

    Thanks for the replies. Les – I agree with you. The attitude that you go in there with is extremely important. At the end of the day you need to come across as friendly and chatty. This is more likely to get good results.

  6. Lana 01/07/2009 at 10:24 am #

    Hi andreas im loving the tips for getting cheaper bikes, i believe my brother got one illegally from down the road!

  7. Burton Haynes 31/12/2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  8. Shan 15/03/2011 at 11:09 am #

    excellent tips. I always found myself hard to say anything else but “Ok, I will take it” at the end of the conversation without any bargaining.

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