DIY Biz: The Fine Art of Negotiation

(Turkey, 2009. “How much are these earring and I am supposed to negotiate? Maybe I’ll ask the woman in black what she thinks. Oh never mind, I don’t need them anyway.”)

If you came for tips, I’ll have to direct you to one of these books or something. But if you’re here for entertainment, read on…

A recent email conversation:

Me: I’m interested in your product. What is the price for X quantity?

Them: See our prices (here). For that quantity we will discount them 30%.

Me: Thanks for the information. I have quote for similar products at a 40% discount, but I do like your designs. Can you match this price?

Them: We can offer you a 25% discount on our prices! See them (here).

Me: ……?

Me: Thanks for your response. However I think we have a misunderstanding. You offered me a 30% discount initially and I asked if you could do a 40% discount.Then you offered me a 25%. I think we are getting farther apart.

Them: Ok, 30% discount. Thank you!

Me: …..?

Recently my husband and I were talking about the art of negotiation. He said he used to think of it as almost predetermined – you start in one place, I start in another and eventually we’ll end up somewhere in the middle. But recently we’ve learned through experience more and more that there’s so much more to it. Neither of us have mastered it (and he negotiates basically full-time!) but we’re getting wiser. It really is an art.

I’m reluctant to give anything that could be construed as advice (see example above) but I have learned to be less emotional, more persistent and to look at the big picture rather than focusing on one number or term. I can’t say it’s my favorite thing to do right now, but I do love learning new things so I appreciate the challenge.

Have you read this infamous Ask Culture vs. Guess Culture post? I’m totally Guess Culture (Minnesota Nice and all) which is probably not so great for negotiating. Though perhaps my delicate feelers are an advantage? I don’t know, but last summer I took the Hogan Assessment for a project and found out that my Interpersonal Sensitivity is super high (Reflects tact and perceptiveness. High scorers seem friendly, warm, and popular. Low scorers seem independent, frank, and direct.) which totally jives. In my world tact > direct, for better or worse.

Now, who wants to go to the flea market and practice this weekend? Any tips? Smile

PS – Just remembered another tidbit from that Turkey trip. We bought two beach towels that trip for something ridiculous like $30 (total, but still…) because we really needed them. The next day we used them and the dye bled all over our clothes.



  1. Dree says:

    I like that ask/guess post. I am completely ask culture–I was raised on the maxim of “Ask! The worst they can do is say no.” And you know what? People rarely say no, unless they have a good reason. And if they do say no–it’s not a big deal.

    I am great at negotiating at garage sales, but I freak out when it comes to a car (though if the salesmen weren’t so slimy I wouldn’t freak so much).

    And yes, I find “guessers” to be very passive aggressive, like your link says. I just want to scream “What do you want?!”

    Too funny.

  2. Joe says:

    You forgot the best story from the Turkey trip. I needed a pair of socks, so found some cheap pair of “Polo” socks in a store for $3. I offered $2 and the store clerk yelled at me and called me cheap. Of course, he was the person selling knock-off Polo socks on the street. So I wore sandals instead.

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