I look forward to stitchy's comments - these are great discussions.
Also - love the AT, Stitchy. It is a great watch. I think the small, no-date, black face is my favorite from that line (railmaster, I think), but they are all great watches. Someone will be very happy with it.
ill go out of order here for a minute. the AT is great. id be super tempted if i had not got my hands on the ToG. im hoping it finds a home with a loving owner, maybe even an SFer as some interest has been shown.
ANOTHER LONG POST!!!!! Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
back to dinos point #4. i do understand where he is coming from, especially since he is a serious customer. how can one really be expected to commit to a purchase without a price? and i think the rest of the story was kind of the proof being in the pudding with that fellow that he wasnt really ever going to put his money where his mouth was. in a way its not entirely dissimilar from buying a used car, some places negotiate/hold out on price until the customer starts with a number, some places just up and say this is the price, take it or leave it.
each has its upsides and downsides. if you are going to be willing to negotiate, you have to be good at it and not come off like a sleaze-ball. if you succeed at that, it can be great for buyer and seller. if not, it can be horrible. if you are going to have a no hassle policy, you also have to have good prices and you have to stick to your guns. if you have crappy prices or if people know that you are a flip flopper on your policy, that can also be horrible.
that being said, no seller really HAS to negotiate or not not negotiate, its a matter of a business owner deciding what way is best for his business based on his clientele/demographic/competitors... my experience as a person who has done work in both, but mostly within places that do negotiate, is as follows:
the idea is, "you dont want to be the customers first stop, you want to be their last." meaning, often times a person comes in looking at a piece, and they are drilling you for your bottom dollar just so they can go to their friend/cousin/other place.... and say "hey, i can get this for X, you said you will beat anyone, thats the number yo have to beat." and that sucks for place number one. no one likes dropping their pants only to be glanced at and then walked out on. when you are willing to negotiate, you want someone who has done their homework and is ready to rock and roll if you can give a great deal and come to mutually agreeable terms.
obviously no seller can expect a potential buyer to 100% agree to a purchase without a firm price. what i think the SA in that situation was trying to do, but failed miserably at was as follows. any serious buyer will know the price of the watch, and the range within he can expect a potential discount.
the question therefore is not,
A. "will you 100% buy this from me if i give you my best price (and lets assume you believe me that i really am giving you my best price), even though you dont know what i am going to say?" that is dumb.
the question is
B. "we both know you are truly interested in this piece and that you know the price range. if i give you my best possible price, are you willing to potentially make the purchase today, or at least leave a deposit to guarantee it? because if you are just pricing me out, i cant give you my best price. we can talk when you are really giving me a chance to close this deal." because the flip side of that is the customer who has no intent of buying at all, but just wants to leverage you. that is what the SA should be trying to avoid.
and some places that do that, will even give a number that isnt really their lowest, if they feel that whatever they say the customer will ask for a better deal. and yes, i have had countless customers do that, and you can almost always tell when its coming. lets say the price is 1750, if i say 1000, even though its a ridiculous price, that id only offer to keep someone from walking, they will ask for 950, and i cant do 950. if i say 1200 they will say 1100, and we agree. and they didnt get the best deal. they screwed themselves because i could tell that i had to leave myself room or there was no way to close it. thats part of the strategy both people agree to when you negotiate that way. and the reason is, because in those situations its not about that customer saving money, they just want to feel like they beat you. whatever you say, they need to pay less, and if they do, they feel they have won. you want to play games, fine, but know that its a gamble.
other times, i can tell the person really just wants the best deal, and ill put it out there HAPPILY. knowing that they are not just trying to win or leverage my offer for lower price, they just want a good deal, and im happy to oblige.
and imo that is 100% fair. as a business person you need to CYA, and a reasonable customer should know that. sometimes the customer calls the bluff and the price gets lower, sometimes they agree on the price even it it isnt the absolute lowest the SA can go. but why should the SA be required to always sell at the bottom most price? it doesnt matter if you the customer really got the BEST PRICE EVAR ZOMG!!!111! what matters is that the seller and buyer are both happy and satisfied with the price. i dont care how high a sellers margins are, thats not my business. all that matters is am i happy with the price. what he gets on his end is his business not mine.
now, a good sales person should be able to sort the liars from the pack, but there are always good liars who say that yes they are ready if the price is right, even though they are full of crap, but you know that is a potential situation when you agree to negotiate, and its your job as a sales person to do your best to assess the situation in front of you. the challenge is, being able to assess the customers level of readiness to commit if the price is right, knowing what number to put out first, and framing it in a way that you keep the customer engaged and interested without screwing yourself or the customer in the process. if you can do that, its a very beneficial way for both parties to transact. if you cant walk that line, then you wont find much success, as happened with dimo.
YMMV, but that is my take on this type of situation.
Top post from a seasoned sales, and there is nothing for me to add to!
especially the master class question of "we both know you are truly interested in this piece and that you know the price range. if i give you my best possible price, are you willing to potentially make the purchase today, or at least leave a deposit to guarantee it? because if you are just pricing me out, i cant give you my best price. we can talk when you are really giving me a chance to close this deal."