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DizRotus

NEGOTIATING STRATEGIES and ETIQUETTE

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Everything in this post, as well as every other post of mine, is my opinion only.  Others are free to disagree and to express that disagreement in a civil manner.

 

The musings below can be applied to the buying and selling of used speakers.  Buyers or sellers are too frequently too self centered in their approaches.  Buyers look at high asking prices as almost criminal, whereas sellers look at “low ball” offers as attempted theft.  Too many are insulted by offers they deem to be out of line.  My advice is, get over yourself.  Buyers should offer what they are willing to pay, and sellers should ask what they are willing to accept, PERIOD.  All the perceived insults and hurt feelings are for children, not adults.

 

For example, in my business, it is frequently necessary to quickly determine whether a customer’s budget is even in the ballpark.  Just last week a call came in for a custom made product that is infrequently purchased.  I told the caller that $1,000 was a likely target, fully expecting that to end the conversation. We didn’t offer to sell anything for $1,000, nor did he offer to buy anything for $1,000.  Instead, we both were able to decide it was worth our whiles to continue.  Had we not had that discussion, we, the customer and us, could have wasted our time to learn the customer would not, perhaps could not, pay a reasonable price for the product he desired.  Had not the customer confirmed that $1,000 was within his budget, we would not have scheduled an appointment. 

 

As it turned out, the customer purchased an upgraded version of the custom made product that ended up costing just under $2,000.  In our business, under normal pre-COVID-19 conditions, $2,000 is a below average sale; nothing to get excited about.  

 

As it pertains to selling used speakers, buyers can ask for all the clear photos they want and tailor their offers accordingly, similarly, sellers can ask whatever they like and preemptively discourage “low ball” offers, but it always comes down to whether the buyer and seller can agree to a price.  Sure, buyers might prefer many clear photos and a stated price, from which they could attempt to negotiate downward.  Similarly, sellers would like to state a high asking price, avoid the task of photos, and not be required to accept less.  The motivation levels of buyers and sellers vary widely.  It is no crime to ask too much or to offer too little, but it is poor etiquette to insult your counterpart merely because he/she was not motivated to meet your photo demands or to commit to a range.

 

To avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings, I see no problem with a buyer asking a seller, “What’s the least you would accept?” That can be done with a question or by making good faith offers until one is accepted or the seller ignores the buyer completely.  Similarly, I have no problem with a seller asking a buyer, “If the item in question were perfect, what’s the most you would pay?”  In neither case is either party committing to a contract.  No one is making a legal offer that could be accepted by the other party, thus creating a contract.  All that is being done is to establish a range within which the buyer and seller may be able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.  If such a range cannot be established through a civil exchange, then the buyer and seller would both be well advised to look elsewhere to strike a bargain.

 

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I've often sold things for less than asking, here and elsewhere. I start high knowing there will be some dickering, reductions over time, and to offer an "all in" price for PP and shipping costs. Sometimes I will lower entirely if I'm desperate to sell. Sometimes I'll lower, but put the PP and shipping fees back on the buyer. Low-balls aren't ever insulting to me, but they often dip below my threshold where it's worth it just to keep the item.

 

I also prefer trades and so on Craigslist I'll artificially inflate my asking price in order to make a more compelling trade offer for other people on Craigslist. Since trades boil down to "can I use that more than this?" I like to remove the listed price as a psychological barrier. "He's asking to trade my $400 item for his $200 item" becomes irrelevant when both parties can benefit from the traded items.

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1 hour ago, DizRotus said:

 If such a range cannot be established through a civil exchange, then the buyer and seller would both be well advised to look elsewhere to strike a bargain.

Excellent post. Going back to my real estate negotiation seminars of the 1980's, a fair market value is determined by a buyer and seller agreeing to what that is under a no pressure situation. Another way to look at "fairness" is: Would YOU take either side of the deal, buying or selling??? Also shipping cost is a big factor for big items.

 

The only missing component in this discussion is "motivation."  A motivated seller will price his/her item lower than average market value (perceived or real by the masses) if they want to sell it fast. How many "steal deals" were snatched up faster than we could ever respond to them from a motivated seller, or one that simply wanted to get rid of the item without knowing how valuable it was ($10 Heresys in a real Garage Sale comes to mind, or only bid up to $100 at an Auction).

 

It's an interesting dynamic regardless of the position you hold. However one rule still applies from those R.E. Seminars: "You can't steal in slow motion!"

 

People who are motivated to sell something real cheap don't want to wait a long time for their money. Buy IT NOW is a great phrase.

 

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there are a lot of assumptions in that original post that I have some difficulty wrapping my head around because it's description was cryptic.

 

the idea of a 'reasonable' price is broad and generalized... if one was selling something that they had purchased or owned and felt a 'reasonable' price was one that reflected listed comparable in an open market I would have to say that there is an issue. the Issue being, as a reseller a unit or good is only as valuable as what someone is willing to pay regardless of what that unit is and how rare it's existence is... there is no tangible 'reasonable' value, even if a similar item had sold for a similar price.

 

if you are a MANUFACTURER, its a different ball game... in that there are costs associated in the manufacture and production of said unit and selling for below that price is inconsistent with a successful business model.

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3 minutes ago, Schu said:

if you are a MANUFACTURER, its a different ball game... in that there are costs associated in the manufacture and production of said unit and selling for below that price is inconsistent with a successful business model.

I believe the OP was making his point about used items, not new, so this part is not relevant.

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7 minutes ago, Schu said:

the Issue being, as a reseller a unit or good is only as valuable as what someone is willing to pay regardless of what that unit is and how rare it's existence is... there is no tangible 'reasonable' value, even if a similar item had sold for a similar price.

I agree with the first part, and disagree with the second part, since it's "average sales price on Ebay" quite often determines it's market value. I don't care what the asking price is for a speaker (Klipsch or other brand). The question remains: What did others with the same specification and condition ACTUALLY sell for???

 

That being said, I remember a piece of TOAST that looks like Jay Leno's profile selling on Ebay for over $2,800!! From the sublime to the ridiculous, it's all there!!

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10 minutes ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

I believe the OP was making his point about used items, not new, so this part is not relevant.

 

That’s correct Claude.

 

A lot of energy is, IMO, wasted by sellers and buyers attempting to justify their ask or offer.  It doesn’t matter how or why you determine your limit, just that it is your limit.  

 

I’m always amused by the vitriol hurled at perceived flippers.  While I can understand a philosophical aversion to parting out serviceable used speakers, the owner has every right to do with his/her property as she/he sees fit.  Furthermore, if I obtain something of value by windfall, I have no obligation to reflect my minimal, or nonexistent, acquisition cost in the asking price.  The market still controls.

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1 hour ago, DizRotus said:

 Buyers should offer what they are willing to pay, and sellers should ask what they are willing to accept, PERIOD.

Yep.

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32 minutes ago, DizRotus said:

I’m always amused by the vitriol hurled at perceived flippers.

It often has more to do with the personality of the flipper than the actual act of flipping.  Many flippers seem to have distasteful ones.

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1 hour ago, DizRotus said:

but it is poor etiquette to insult your counterpart merely because he/she was not motivated to meet your photo demands or to commit to a range.

How marvelously coincidental.......If you'd like to flame directly, please, be my guest.

Insult?  Not even close.  Nothing was "demanded".  And considering you don't even know the backstory, I find your comment insulting.

 

It is equally poor etiquette to tell a potential buyer that - I'm not taking them out to take photos if you are just looking for a cheap deal.  OK, I get that, it is something of a sellers market right now, and that's fine.  However, how about you just let me know how much you will accept?  High, low, whatever, and we can go from there.   I'm not about to make an offer on a pair of used speakers that are decades old when:

1.  I don't know you

2.  I have no idea what the provenance of the speakers is

3.  You refuse to send any photos

4.  You are rude and shitty in your messaging.

 

I have bought and sold literally dozens of pairs of speakers, parts, tubes, you name it.  (although probably not as many as Dave A....)  I know the market for used Heritage and extended Heritage likely as well as anyone.  So, please don't give me the runaround and try to manipulate the situation.  As I've said, I will pay the right price (IMO) for the right speakers.

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   1 hour ago,  DizRotus said: 

 Buyers should offer what they are willing to pay, and sellers should ask what they are willing to accept, PERIOD.

 

After reading @oldtimer‘s quote from my original post, I feel it needs amplification.  I’m not suggesting that buyers and sellers can’t understate the offer or inflate the ask as part of the negotiating process.  I am saying that the negotiating dance should be designed to eventually present each party with the other’s best offer, unless it’s clear the parties are too far apart.

 

When the ask and the offer are too far apart, it would be foolish for either party to articulate his/her limit.  Only as the offer and ask get close to each other would it be a mistake to not do all possible to see if the ask and offer can meet in the middle.

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10 minutes ago, jimjimbo said:
2 hours ago, DizRotus said:

but it is poor etiquette to insult your counterpart merely because he/she was not motivated to meet your photo demands or to commit to a range.

How marvelously coincidental.......If you'd like to flame directly, please, be my guest.

 

Maybe I missed something Jim but I didn't attribute ANY of this thread to be directed at anyone in particular, much less you personally.  I took it as a rhetorical discussion in general.

+++

 

I've been a flipper in the past by definition, meaning buy low sell high, but I've never bought a speaker just to flip it.  My re-sales have been WAF directed and I've taken the profits from one Klipsch sale to buy other Klipsch speakers.  That was never my intention, that's just how it turned out.

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16 minutes ago, wvu80 said:

Maybe I missed something Jim but I didn't attribute ANY of this thread to be directed at anyone in particular, much less you personally.  I took it as a rhetorical discussion in general.

I think you did miss something Dave.  You can look at my Garage sale post relative to a pair of Chorus I.

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2 minutes ago, jimjimbo said:

I think you did miss something Dave.  You can look at my Garage sale post relative to a pair of Chorus I.

Thanks, Jim.  Maybe I stumbled into something in which I should have kept my mouth shut.   My apologies if I was out of line.

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And then there is the dance spoken of earlier. In some instances

it is more the dance as much as it is the item itself. Having watched and been an observer, there are occasions where it is all about the wheeling and the dealing. It can often lead off to other things not even related to the item at hand.

Often the brinksmanship can come into play trying to get into

the others head. Finally before the other is leaving or just departing, can some break, make the final offer, relenting their firm previously held position.

Fun to watch at times the strategy as it plays out. Mind games can be fun. Some prefer the simple back and forth with limited drama. Play the game or not, both parties walking away from a deal, both not being disappointed at the conclusion is desirable. After all is said and done, hopefully it was a learning experience, for most.

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Too much dancing and no sex.  No wonder you 2 lovebirds are irritable.  You expect the other to make the move.

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4 hours ago, Thaddeus Smith said:

I come for the audio, but stay for the petty drama.

Oh, you mean the Covid 19 thread?

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There have been a lot of these discussions from buyers and sellers over the years on various forums.

 

The one thing I have taken away from them, and learned from experience is, effective communication is both an art and a skill.

 

State your conditions up front and assume nothing. There is a very fine line between “no harm, no foul” and “sour grapes.”

 

Expectations are unfulfilled resentments. 

 

Why would a sane person engineer that into any relationship?

 

My dad always said “don’t give sh!t a place to happen.” 

 

...because it will

 

 

 

 

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I love it. Very well written OP. Sorry you feel attacked here Jim. I did read into it. A good thread that can be generalized anyway.

My 2¢ below.

Probably my own inefficiencies at hand, but I will admit to you ALL right here and right now this... I post a price, or make an offer to purchase one time and that it, I never budge. No singing, dancing, drama, battle of the wits going on with any used product I am associated with. Now if there are circumstances involved, those not related to the product itself, or unknown condition issues that later arrive, then the negotiations with me are valid. I will walk away over >$25. Done so many times. I don't play. No fun to be had negotiating with me. Move on if that is your motivation please. I started trading when I was 7. I have tried it many ways, wheeling/dealing and whatnot, so my own personal experiences have lead me to this eventuality. Do what works best for you. Just don't expect it from me. Trust me, I have done plenty of homework before an exchange ever happens. As much as I try to leave style, personality, and attitude out of the deal, unfortunately there are times my being "firm" comes off as exactly those things to some people. On more than a few of those occasions I am sure they really just wanted to "play". I am not having it, and am better for it, but probably not richer. I am OK with that. I have tons of other skills that keep me going.

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