Negotiating + Cash = DEAL

The Mrs. has had her eye on a couch. It was at a furniture store that was going out of business. That was two months ago. As nice as it would be, it just hasn't been a priority and our money was needed elsewhere in the budget. We went by the other day to see what was left. To our surprise, the couch was still there. We chatted with the salesman a bit (a hired-gun liquidator), and acquired some very useful information.

  1. He was a liquidator, not an employee of the store
  2. They were accepting reasonable offers, but reasonable was not half the liquidation price
  3. An item could easily be had for 20% below the liquidation price
So what did all this mean?

First, it meant that the item was in our price range. We'd looked at other sofas and knew what we were not ready to pay.

Second, as we soon learned, our intrepid salesman had no loyalty to the store, but rather wanted to move items no matter what.

Third, we had a well defined range for our offer - from what would offend them, to what would assure us the deal.

That was in the morning. We spent the rest of the day shopping, talking, and relaxing a bit. All the while, weighing this deal. Should we go back? After an early dinner, we decided we would do it if we could get a great deal. We put on the negotiating pants and walked down that path.

We went back in our pick-up and made a quick stop by the bank for a fat stack of cash. The Mrs. informed me that she had her plan, we just needed to set our range. The liquidation price was $1300. Our tips from that morning told us that they wouldn't take $650 or less, and that we could just show up and get it for $1040 (20% off). She was willing to go up to $900, though that seemed a bit much to me. I thought $750 was a good starting price - a great deal for us, but 'reasonable' enough in the owner's eyes to make the deal.

We met back with our salesman and discussed our offer. We told him that we could swing $750 for the couch and still have money for sales tax. He was glad to hear that, as folks typically forget about sales tax. Oh, and we have cash. "Great", he said. We knew this would be good motivation for him, as this deal is a lock - no declined credit cards, no bounced checks. He knew we were ready, and he took off to present the offer.

A few minutes later he came back with the counter offer from the owner. "I need $840 out of that piece.... but don't let them leave", came the reply. Then he admitted, "I also told her that you offered $700." This was interesting. He had under bit our low-ball offer. We didn't say a word and he was telling us how he was going to go back and tell her that he got an extra $50 out of us and that the deal would be done - for our original offer. Sure enough, a few minutes later, it was done.

This guy was good. While filling out the paper work, he offered a bit about how as a liquidator, he has to play both sides a bit. Which he did. He worked on us, and got us to make an offer. He then knew just how to play it with the owner to get the deal done. He doesn't care what it sells for, just so long as he gets his cut and it goes out the door.

It was an interesting experience.

Have you ever negotiated with a liquidator?


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