I have been learning the art of negotiation in the last few weeks during my honeymoon in Egypt. Having been brought up in Britain, like most of us, I am largely used to being given a fixed price and if I want that item that is the price I pay.
I’ve never walked into Marks and Spencer clocked the price of a nice new shirt and then tried to get the cashier to sell it to me for less.
Yet that is exactly how things should be done in Egypt, in fact some shopkeepers will get offended if you don’t haggle with them. If you end up paying the first price you are offered then both you and the trader will leave disappointed, so you might as well give it a go.
Of course there are situations back in Britain, in warehousing, where negotiation is needed. If you’re buying supplies you want to get a better price, if you’re using a contractor you want to bring their price down as much as possible.
One of the best tactics I found out in Egypt was to give the shopkeeper a price you are willing to pay and that you will pay it now or leave and go to the shop down the road selling the same gear.
On one occasion I tried this trick, left the shop and the trader came chasing after me down the street to sell for the price I offered – so that worked pretty well.
This tactic, or a very similar one, is probably the only one I’ve used back home – ie “company B can offer me your service at this price so unless you match it I will take my custom there”.
It’s proved fairly successful over the years.
The reality is that when I use that line I would be unlikely to go to the cheaper company anyway but still it works as a negotiation technique.
The reason I wouldn’t use a different company is that I have always had a system where, on most occasions, I get three quotes and go with the company that comes out in the middle.
Not so cheap that they cut corners yet not so expensive that you’re not getting value for money.
It’s not an exact science but I’ve come out alright over the years – and I’ve not had to chase a contractor down the street for their custom, yet.
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