Negotiation Skills – When to Walk Away

If despite your best efforts to negotiate it’s still a ‘no go’, be polite and walk away. Don’t feel embarrassed or get stroppy. Think of it as their loss; as you’ll be giving another store your money.

Walking away can also be a good tactic, as if there’s any last hope of the store caving in – it’s at this point they may agree to the deal. This can be a real test of nerves to see who ‘cracks’ first; and if you really want something it’s hard to keep on walking.

However, remember, if you do walk away you can always go back in the store and buy the item at the full price later that day if you don’t want to lose face by immediately paying full price after being refused a discount. Obviously, this isn’t the same with some items, like, say, secondhand cars, which could well be sold by the time you return, so if you’ve walked away without being called back to agree the deal, it’s down to you whether you return after a quick coffee break or not.

In some cases, you may want time to think about the deal being offered, especially if you’re buying a larger item. So if you’re trying to sort out a new kitchen and are being offered a 20 per cent discount, ask for ten minutes to think about it or go for a coffee.

Many large stores have their own coffee shops, and this is an ideal place to go for a five-minute breather before you agree to a deal. If you’re not confident with your mental arithmetic, always take a calculator so you can double check if the discount is as good as you think.

Beware any instant deals only available at that point in time. This is more the type of deal you’ll be offered by a double-glazing company once their rep is sitting on your sofa and looking unlikely to move for the next five hours. If you’re being offered a big discount that’s only available at that point in time, walk away.

A savvy consumer’s story

Negotiating can be a test of nerves, as this story shows ‘I remember my dad coming with me to buy my first ever car (old and second-hand, but oh so wanted). My dad handled the negotiation and reached a point where he said, “No, sorry, if you can’t move on price or even throw in car tax, we’ll have to look elsewhere”. He then turned and walked towards the garage gates.

I followed, inwardly thinking “No Dad, I want it, and I’ll pay that much as it’s my money but luckily kept quiet and just followed. Just as we reached the final row of cars by the gate the salesman shouted after us, “Oh, I’m sorry, did you say six-month tax? I thought you meant twelve”. We got the car, with the tax we wanted.’ Lesson learned.


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