It doesn’t matter whether you negotiate every day or once in a blue moon, the ability to get the best deals and prices when buying is crucial for the savvy business owner and entrepreneur. Smart Bets, the odds comparison site, give us their top tips on how to negotiate like a pro.

Here are just a few of the many negotiating techniques which have proven to be very effective when buying goods and services. They are designed to help you when negotiating with even the most persuasive sales people.

Don’t say you’re the decision-maker (even if you are)

When the seller knows you’re the decision maker you’re cornered. They’ll push you to make a decision there and then. They do this by using techniques designed to manipulate you and making you embarrassed to say you want time to think it over.

As a buyer you need to be able to divert attention onto a third party or a committee to give you thinking time or to put pressure on the seller to give you a better deal. For example by saying, ‘I can see it’s a really good price, but my business partner/colleague/the owner has said we can only go ahead if you can bring it down by another 15 per cent. Sorry but my hands are tied’ you can maintain a positive relationship with the seller – after all you’ve got to work with them when they get the contract.

Be prepared to shop around

Just like when you’re buying car insurance you don’t just accept your renewal quotation, find out what deals other suppliers can give you. From time to time shop around and also let your current supplier know you’re doing so. If you would prefer to continue to work with the supplier who already knows how you work and is delivering a good service, they deserve the chance to see if they can come up with the best value for money.

Remember cheapest isn’t always the best value for money

When budgets are tight it’s tempting to go for the cheapest supplier every time, but you may not always be getting the best value for money. There will always be someone out there who is prepared to bid low to get the work. What happens when you’ve started working with them? You find they pile on lots of extras or hike up the prices to a more realistic rate after a couple of months. A company prepared to bid unusually low may be on the verge of going out of business and you could be left with a disaster on your hands.

When you’re negotiating with them find out what is included in the price and what isn’t. For example a print company might give you a fantastic price but you find out later it doesn’t include author’s corrections, proofs, delivery or overtime for rush jobs. Push for a fixed price and a good deal for guaranteeing repeat business.

Of course there are many more techniques which you can use to get the best deals, but these will get you started!

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