Car Boot Sale Negotiating Strategies

How does selling at a car boot sale compare with professional selling and negotiating? Actually quite a lot when you look at it.

This morning, with the sun shining, we headed off to the car boot sale at Cheltenham Racecourse with the car chocker full of household items that the Archers no longer need hoping to rustle up some spending money for our holiday in Devon.

On the journey over the whole family were asking me for some negotiation tips which, of course, I was happy to dish out. But before I could start we’d arrived at the place and were soon busy getting set up and fending off the traders who swoop on you like vultures.

So I said to Lewis, watch me and you tell me afterwards what I did. And he did and I asked him afterwards what he noticed.

“Well first of all Dad, your voice was different – you had a low pitch voice when you gave them the price”

The voice has a massive impact on the outcome of a conversation. Lower pitch voices are more believable and assertive and when you drop the voice during a sentence it becomes non negotiable. Many sellers would raise their voice when giving a price and this has the opposite effect of making the person doubt whether you believe in the price and invites a counter bid. So simply lower your voice when giving a price.

“And also Dad you seemed to believe in what the item was worth and you justified the price”

Belief in your product and price stems from how much value you think it provides and are able to justify this when challenged. Make sure you know your product and the problems it solves for people and the value it provides.

“And you never mentioned pounds – you just spoke the words”

Odd one this but if you deliberately don’t mention the word pound or dollar and just speak the figures, it sounds less. So say “two hundred and twenty nine” rather than “two hundred and twenty nine pounds”

“You always look them in the eye”

I noticed other sellers at the car boot who were wary of giving eye contact. This is dangerous as eye contact breeds trust and belief in you as a person.

“When they offered a lower price you politely said no and gave a good reason but always complemented them for asking and then most of the time they agreed the first price.”

Objection handling is something many salespeople don’t like doing because it invites rejection and we don’t like that. However it’s known that overcoming the fist objection with simply a reiteration of the value it provides is often enough for the customer to say yes. You see people like to raise a little objection or attempt to lower the price as they feel they ought to. At the car boot sale, it seems that you have to barter to be accepted as a proper car booter. I noticed the men, who had their partners in tow, would all try to knock the price down. I guess this is a testosterone thing. So I always made mention of the fact that I admired them for asking, making sure their partner heard. This was often enough to satisfy their testosterone and they agreed the price.

“Your prices were odd numbers like £2.75 or £3.15”

Again research shows that odd numbers are believed more than round numbers and less people haggle the price as they feel these numbers have been scientifically worked out and there’s no room for manoeuvre. This is also useful when fixing appointments with customers. Always use odd times such as 2.10pm or 8.25am rather than on the hour appointments. Customers tend to be more prompt as well with these appointments.

“You weren’t afraid to walk away from a sale either Dad”

Classic negotiation technique here but difficult to do. Never cross the line and just have to have a deal as you will be knocked down on price, your profits will suffer and you’ll feel terribly about it afterwards. Be prepared to walk away from the deal.

“And I also noticed Dad, that when Mum was negotiating and someone wanted to knock her down, she turned to you, you said sorry can’t budge on that and she used this as a reason to keep the first price as though you were the baddy.

This again is classic negotiating and is often called The Higher Authority or good guy, bad guy. When you refer a price or deal to someone who appears to have higher authority it rubber stamps the authenticity of the deal.

But believe me I’m not a higher authority to my wife – she’ll throttle me if she heard me say that.

And I estimated that we made enough money that morning to buy 67 ice creams on holiday. That’s extortionate Devon August prices by the way but Devon clotted cream ice cream is the best in the world.