How to get a win:win deal when negotiating.

My new oil painting – beautiful!

I recently bought a painting from an art dealer in Birmingham. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it and my wife was even keener than I was. Not really a great place to start our negotiations.

Anyhow, we engaged the sales person in conversation and she did everything right. I did what I was trained to do and got to a certain stage of negotiations (established basic grounds for the deal) and then announced we were going to clear off and think about it and could they have their “best price” ready in case we came back.

So 45 minutes later and with a glass of Australian Chardonnay sloshing around inside me (they didn’t train me to do that in sales school) we headed back. Bless her – she had moved the picture into a separate room and set everything up for a private viewing – damn I hate to be a foregone conclusion!

We arrived back to see a 7% price reduction, a good start but we could do better, we proceeded to present a split front: Mrs Ames was keen with me less so (lies lies lies – I wanted it more than she did) and we had researched the painter on the internet only to find his works were going in America for less.

“How much less?” she asked – first chink in the negotiation armour methinks. I was honest and told her which represented a 15% reduction from the original price. She frowned, said she would have to check with a director and left the room. A little too soon she came back and said it was my lucky day and she could do the deal. Result! Or was it.

I’m now left thinking I could have got another percent or two off the deal and maybe she’s feeling she should have come back with a counter offer so neither of us are entirely satisfied.

What she should have done was come back with a long face and suggest that despite her best efforts that price could not be allowed. However she could knock off 12%; would that do? Fantastic! I accept; sign the check and everybody goes home happy.

Negotiation is a very important aspect client customer care – without it nobody knows if they have really got the best deal.

The important thing is that everybody feels they could not have done any better in the deal. So keep slogging on until you reach a stone-faced “no” and then decide if the deal on the table works for you. Done!


Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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Posted in Business Development, Sales, Uncategorized
3 comments on “How to get a win:win deal when negotiating.
  1. Stranger Danger says:

    Was this Birmingham Alabama as you signed the “check”?

  2. The art of negotiating or lack thereof on the part of the dealer. Interesting article and a must read for any person serious enough to grow their business. Because customer experience is sometimes a negotiated affair. Thanks Mike

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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