A few days ago I got a small purchase from a Craig’s List ad, which from one point of view isn’t particularly remarkable, since I do this all the time, but the dynamic of what happened may be useful to you. The guy had a blanket of stuff, most of which was junk that I didn’t want, but there were a few choice items, and in fact, one item that thought might have been exceptional.
Not wanting more junk to store in my basement until yard season sale next year, I told the seller that we could do it a couple of ways: I could buy just a few pieces, or I could buy the whole thing, but if I bought all of it, it wouldn’t mean much more money than if I’d bought just a couple of pieces. He asked which items I wanted, if I were to pick and choose, so I pulled out a few things.
He then said that earlier he’d sold a bunch of signs to a dealer, and felt like he’d gotten ripped off. Knowing that particular piece of human psychology that lumps one or two experiences together and then generalizes into statements like “all (dealers)(women)(men) (blacks)(whites)(Arabs) are all alike”–which certainly isn’t true, of course–I asked him to put a price on the stuff himself, rather than me giving one, which I usually do. He said $200, I had $60 in mind since I wasn’t sure at all about the value, and we settled on a hundred (his second offer).
As it turned out, one of the items may be exceptional (See the Steal of the Week, in a week or so, to watch what happened), but what is more important from a teaching point of view is the way I handled the negotiation–which got both of us what he wanted. Had he said he needed to get rid of everything, I could certainly have done that, but he was happy to piece it out. I distinguished myself from other dealers by letting him set the price. And then working together, we found a price we could both agree on. Had I set a price first, my guess would be that he would be thinking of the other dealer who he felt had ripped him off, so my offer would have been suspect. Letting him name the price does an end run around that objection.
The other important aspect, which I’ve mentioned many times elsewhere, is that if you don’t know the retail value of something, you have to buy very conservatively. The exact formula I usually use is in the information product, but it’s flexible to some degree–you simply have to buy cheap enough that even if you are WAY off you still at least get your money back.
As always, I encourage to write your comments and experiences below, and watch for the video coming next week as to how I did on the auction–was it really the Steal of the Week, or did I mess up?