Negotiation Tip #1

There’s a neat commercial that’s currently on TV that shows a young man in different phases of life.  In each, he’s offered something and then he says the word, “And?

Then the person who’s offering gives him something in addition to the original offer. Two of the examples are when he’s a child getting an ice cream cone.  After they hand it to him, he says “And?” and they give him lots of sprinkles on top of the cone.  Then, when he’s older, he’s offered a job—says, “And?” and the man gives him a corner office with a view.

Quite frankly I don’t remember what they’re selling in the ad, but it reminded me of a neat little technique that I learned several years ago.

Right now we’re coming up on Christmas.  I’ll bet you’ll be spending some money on present during the next couple of weeks.  I’d imagine that if I could put some of that money back in your pocket, you’d be happy!  Right?

Here we go . . . 

When you find out the price of something, automatically give a little small ‘flinch’ and then say, “Is that the best that you can do?”  You want to put the emphasis on the word ‘best.’

Then shut up!  Don’t say another word.  Watch what happens.

I’ve used this many, many times over the years, and I can tell you that it’s worked about 95% of the time.  (As a matter of fact, I can’t remember it not working, but I’m sure I was shot down sometime along the way.)

A couple of years ago a famous, large, clothing store had a sale on men’s suits.  At the time, I needed a couple, so I went to the store and picked out a grey herringbone suit and a navy blue pinstripe suit.  The sale was 40% off regular price, so I was getting a pretty good deal without any other discounts.

After trying them on and letting the salesman know that I liked them, I said, “Is that the best you can do?”  He looked at me for a second and said, “I think so.  They’re 40% off.”

I asked him if he would go ask his manager.

He came back a couple of minutes later and told me that the manager would give me 60% off and that was the best they could do.

I asked him if they could drop it any lower if I bought another suit.  He went back to the manager.  He came back with three coupons for $50 off of each suit and said that he was authorized to use them if I bought another suit—with the 60% off price included!  So basically they’d dropped their sale price by another 20% and were throwing in an additional $150 in savings!

( I have three new suits in my closet!)

As we were waking to the register to ring the suits up, the salesman began shaking his head and laughing.

“That’s pretty cool!  I had no idea my manager would do that.”

Later that day, I had a great lunch with some of the money I’d saved at the clothing store that day!!!

So try it.  You’ve got nothing to lose.


I wrote the above post while flying to Kentucky.  When I arrived at the hotel where I was staying, I decided to try it while checking in.

I smiled at the lady behind the counter and asked her how her day was going.  She smiled back.

We made small talk and then she gave me the contract to initial and sign.  When I saw the price, (which I already knew), I asked her if that was the “best” she could do.  She got on the computer and dropped the price $10.00!

Money in my pocket!

Then I asked her, “Is that the BEST you can do?”  She smiled at me, told me to hold on, walked back into the office, and came back with a FREE BREAKFAST coupon that she told me was worth $12.00!!!

$22.00 total!  Not a huge deal, but multiply that by “X” times over the course of a year and you can see the impact.

Which brings me to the subject of my next post . . .

Stay tuned!

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  1. Sharon Farkas
    Sharon Farkas12-12-2011

    Will you go Christmas shopping with me??? And where was this blog before I paid for the wedding?

    • Robert Mallon
      Robert Mallon12-13-2011

      Absolutely Sharon!!! Better late than never. Maybe you should call those wedding people back and ask them if that was the best they could do… NOT! :)

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