Negotiation Tips Beijing Style

I was just on a week’s holidays in Beijing. Anyone who has visited the city will have experienced the markets, which bring new meaning to haggling. Essentially sales people on the various stalls will start with an opening price of up to ten times what they hope to sell an item for and negotiate for about ten minutes to try and make as much margin as possible.

Here’s a couple of tips I picked up which can be applied in any sales setting:

  • Never open the negotiation: As the customer, never give the opening price. This sets a threshold which you cannot go below and if you are unfamiliar with the product or service you are buying you may start off with an opening price which is already higher than what the seller is happy to accept.
  • Be personable: Always introduce yourself and get the salesperson’s name. Sellers use the same trick to try to form a bond and emotionally manipulate you when negotiating. Flip the tables and do the same thing. When we were given the first price, instead of giving a counteroffer we would immediately say something like ‘I know that’s the regular price, but I’m Irish. Do you have a special discount for us?’ So instead of launching into a back and forth of counter offers, we forced the seller to offer a discount immediately.
  • Be prepared to walk away: If you look like you really want something, then you are handing over control to the seller. Most deals in Beijing are done when the customer walks away and the salesperson calls them back, accepting the final offer the customer made.
  • Don’t be put off by the sales environment: When you walk into a Porsche dealership, you know that the cars cost a lot of money. Just because a shop is snazzy or the service provider pitching to you is dressed to the nines, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking for a discount. Sure they’re likely to have higher overheads, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t try to drive a bargain.
  • Always try to speak to another customer: No matter what you are buying in life, always try to speak to someone who has bought the same product or service. It’s a no brainer, besides making sure the quality is of a high enough standard, it’s also a quick way to check what they paid and gives you the upper hand in a negotiation if you were originally unsure what you should be paying.


One Response to “Negotiation Tips Beijing Style”  

  1. 1 Chris Kelly

    Well learned Grasshopper!

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Piaras Kelly
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