This Instructable will give you some ideas on how to become a better negotiator at garage sales. If you are reseller - any money you save on the front end of buying is just as good as money you make on the back end when you sell. Give the video a watch and the slides a read.
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Step 1: Ask a Direct Question.
1. Ask a direct question. "Will you take $5 for this?". Don't say "Are you negotiable"" or "What is your best price?" Most people don't like to negotiate, so asking them to negotiate will start the discussion out negatively. Asking them for their best price is basically asking them to negotiate with themselves. Put some of your own skin in the game - name a price. I'll bet more than half the time they will say yes and the negotiation will be over then and there.
Step 2: Keep the Seller on Your Side
Keep the seller on your side. Pointing out all the flaws with an item can put sellers on the defensive. A lot of them will take this kind of tactic personally. Don't be afraid to be self-deprecating. Tell them you don't have much money, tell them you are a cheap-skate. Get a laugh. Keep the problem simple - keep the discussion about the price - that's easy for them to fix.
Step 3: Bundle
Bundle. When you walk up with an item to negotiate on - have another item or two in mind that are at the same sale. If you reach an impasse on the price of the item - agree to pay what they are asking if they throw in the other item. You've given them a way to win - they got the price they were asking. Also, I can't tell you how many times the throw-in item was actually worth more than the original one.
Step 4: Use Quick One-liner Mini-negotiations to Save a Lot of Little Money.
Quick one-liners. Almost always ask for a better deal. If an item has two bucks on it, pick it up - "Can I get this for a dollar?". If two items are three dollars each -"Can I get both of these for $4?". These are quick mini-negotiations that add up to big savings over the course of a month. Sellers love to say yes to taking cash for things they no longer want anyway. ASK.
Step 5: Show Them the Money, Jerry
Show the cash. Once you get close to the end of a negotiation - maybe the buyer is on the fence or you are at the high side of your target price - pull out the cash, spread it out and offer it forward. People love money. They love the sight of it. They might salivate. They might envision what it will feel like in their hands. If the discussion in their mind has moved to a win/lose, right/wrong kind of mindset, showing the cash might bring them back to the reason they are there - to get money. Show them the money.
Step 6: Set a Target Price and a Max Price
This is obvious. Set a target price before-hand and don't exceed it. If you pay to much you will be wasting time on the back end to either break-even or not make enough money. You will regret it every time you see the item on the shelf. The ability to walk away when the deal isn't right is one of your strongest weapons in your negotiating arsenal. Use it when applicable.
Step 7: Check Your Ego at the Door
Check your ego at the door. The point of negotiating is only to get the best price. It's not to win or lose, to prove how smart you are or any other meta-games. It's only money. Don't get emotionally attached to either your seed money or the objects you want to buy.