THE SITUATION:

When people want to buy, say a fridge, they believe they negotiate with the store.  They believe the salesperson has his hands tied by the company and the sticker price is the price you have to pay.

Sure you are negotiating with the store, but you should think about the store as merely giving guardrails for what the salesperson can or can not do. Of course the store as something in place for the salesperson not to give away their product for free or at too much of a discount.  But that does not mean they can not do anything for you.  Recently I bought some expensive coffee in Kona, Hawaii. I really love my coffee.  After befriending the salesperson during the tour, she spontaneously offered me a 10% discount.  I would love to say that my good looks did the job, but I believe that showing up with my 2 cute kids, my charming wife, and showing my passion for coffee did the trick.   When she applied the discount, I noticed there were 2 options: a 5% and a 10%. What was interesting to me was that the potential to give a discount was already built in. This is what the salesperson can do, without asking anyone.

HOW TO OVERCOME?

Build a rapport with the salesperson. That should be easy because they are trying to build a rapport with you to make a sell.  While they gather information from you, you have to do the same. Get a better understanding of who they are, what they can do and what they can not.  It is much easier than you would expect. People don’t usually do that so they won’t expect it. And also, in many cases, they have nothing to lose personally. Just like in my coffee example, tapping the 10% discount when they check me out is simple.  Moreover, average people usually do not ask for a discount. Probably they think it would be embarrassing, or that it says something about them like they are cheap or the can not afford it.  For me, and probably for most of you, I was proud (and still am in some situations) to pay the full price. For a long time, I could not afford much, and people would look down on me.  Being a person of color and living in the “banlieue”, the French equivalent of US projects – nowhere as bad though – would make matter only worse.  I realized how dumb that was when I realized that many of my new wealthy friends ask to pay less with no shame!  There I was, thinking that paying the full price would make me look rich, while all along rich people are asking for a discount for anything: AAA batteries, restaurants, credit card fees, parking tickets, extra coupons.  it is not so much about the money for small buys but more the principle and the habit. It feels like it is wired in them.  So that when they ask for a discount on a fancy car or a new villa in Southern California, it comes automatically. Even better they ask for a lot. I mean 50% off and yup, they do not have an ounce of shame.  So if rich people do it, why not everybody.  

SO WHAT?

  • There is power in numbers.  Show up with friends, partners, kids, pets anything that can give you an edge. You need to capture every single detail, bring people to observe, you need to build rapport with a mother or a father, bring your kid or nephews, you need to appeal to someone’s emotions, bring your cute pet.
  • Check your ego at the door. Ask for more without thinking about what people may think of you. Salespeople do not care what you think of them as long as your check does not bounce.

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