Every day someone asks me, “How can I get what I want out of this?” “How can I negotiate the right price?” “How can I talk them into selling me the (whatever it is that I want)?”
First, figure out what you want.
Seems obvious right? I can't tell you how many times someone has said, “I want to negotiate a better price.” Then, when I ask them what price they want to pay, their next sentence starts with, “I don't know. Better.”
Don't even enter into a negotiation until you know exactly what you want and what that's worth to you.
Know exactly the price you want to pay and what you want from it. If it's a house you are looking at, know what you want to pay, what you are willing to pay and what you are willing to sacrifice to do that.
Let's detail an example. Since buying a home is one the biggest negotiations you will ever do, it makes a perfect example.
You want to buy 123 Main St. in Santa Monica. It's listed for $1,500,000. You want to pay $1,350,000. You are willing to give up the contingency that they replace the gutters (which will only cost you $3000 to have done).
Rule #1: Know exactly what you want.
Rule #2: Know exactly what you are willing to pay for it.
Rule #3: Know exactly what you are willing to give up to get it.
Now for the actual negotiations. How will you handle yourself? What should you say? What should you not say?
The first thing to do is tell the other person that you would like to negotiate. Don't invite them to coffee and then spring on them that you are trying to get a lower price on the car they are selling. Make sure they know what they are going to be doing when you show up. In home buying, this isn't usually an issue.
The next step is to be concise. This doesn't mean that you should bark your demands as they get out of the car. Be polite and pleasant, but after you have said “Hi,” shook hands and know how they are doing today, get to the point.
Finally, and obviously, follow through. If you promised cash, have the cash ready for closing.
Rule #4: Be concise and direct, but don't be unpleasant.
Rule #5: Stay within the boundaries you set for yourself.
Rule #6: Be prepared to follow through right away.
Six simple rules that will allow you to negotiate anything in your life. Be open and honest, follow these rules and you will be just fine.