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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.