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Negotiation: The (LOST) Art of the Deal

You have a great item (hot rod, race car, vintage parts, pet turtle) for sale. You’ve taken adequate detailed pictures to show all features and any possible defects. You’ve written an accurate description and priced it fairly. You’re ready for the inevitable negotiation. Now let the serious buyers come running, right?

Sellers: here’s some pointers to spot time wasters.

Buyers: If you do any of these you’re being an ass and wasting someone’s valuable time.

It usually starts with “What’s the least you’ll take?” Of course nobody wants to pay more than they have to, but when someone starts out the conversation like this they’re not a buyer they’re a bullshitter.

If the seller says “don’t text,” DON’T TEXT. If it says “no calls after 9PM”, DON’T CALL AFTER 9PM? Don’t know what time zone they’re in? Look it up. You probably have a good idea of where the item is anyway, right? Follow THEIR rules, always be respectful and you’ll have a better chance of a great experience and might get it cheaper just for being polite.

Sometimes logistics prevent the buyer from going to see the part in person.  Whenever possible GO SEE the car/part/whatever in person and do it BEFORE negotiating price. The art of negotiation is a two-way street.

Buyers; ask a million questions and know what you’re buying. Sellers; if you want to sell something prepare to answer every imaginable question – buyers want (and have every right) to know what they’re getting prior to starting the negotiating.

Negotiate once you have all of the information you need, but ONLY if you have the money AND intent to buy it! If you can’t afford it don’t bother the seller, or at least tell them up front that you’re not in the market but you’re curious.

DON’T negotiate via text or email. Do it in person, or at VERY LEAST do it over the phone. Negotiation involves a mutual respect to be successful.

Look, I know times are changing and things are texting is the main form of communication for many. Regardless, people who “only text” seem like children or scammers to the older generation. Man up, look someone in the eye and go getcha some cool stuff.

That said, I DID just sell a $20,500 Duramax diesel strictly through text messaging. The person formed complete sentences, didn’t say HOW MUCH 4 UR TRUK? or dumb shit like that. They asked specific questions that let me know they were serious, told me they were coming to see it and bringing a cashier’s check plus cash from a local bank, and I first SPOKE to them whey they drove up. They loved the truck, we agreed on a price and they took it home.

So it DOES happen, but it happens when people can be adults and demonstrate that they’re competent enough to use the English language and follow through on commitments to be somewhere when they say they will.

Still, there’s nothing better than being a grown up, looking someone in the eye and shaking their hand while making a deal.

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Eric Hibbs

Eric Hibbs


  1. Alex Welsh
    May 20, 2017 at 4:17 pm — Reply

    Great points, Eric! I have found that over the years, I have gotten pretty good at working deals and negotiating, and it’s not because I want to absolutely hammer the other party. It’s because I’ve made a few terrible deals in the past that had lingering effects. Nothing stings worse than knowing that you’ve just agreed to a toxic deal. These are things I’ve learned:
    Do your homework. Know the product you’re selling or buying. Read up on potential trouble spots. Research the current market value on what you’re buying or selling. If you’re selling, make sure your product is CLEAN. First impressions make lasting impressions. Ask knowledgeable questions, give honest answers. Have a minimum dollar amount preset in your head before you buy or sell. Don’t get caught up in “Buyer Fever”. Relax. Don’t be afraid to walk away, don’t let the buyer beat you up. You don’t have to buy or sell today, so don’t pressure yourself.

    GREAT ARTICLE, with good information that anyone can use. Nothing feels better when you know you’ve made a great transaction, whether you’re a buyer or a seller.

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