I love negotiating, plain and simple. Who doesn’t love the fact that just asking or in some cases saying nothing at all can save you money? It’s a lot easier via email, but it turns out the art of face-to-face negotiations hasn’t been lost on me.
About 3 weeks before I proposed to Lauren, I found the jeweler who was going to make the perfect ring for her. Instead of buying the ring I wanted (because it was crazy expensive to buy it from the upscale store that sells it), I searched for a diamond dealer who could re-create the ring for a far lower price.
I visited a few jewelers, got a sense for their prices, and ultimately decided on a deal in Virginia who not only had terrific rates, but took the time to answer all my questions before pushing me to buy. In fact, I never felt any pressure from him, so it was a fairly easy decision for me. In contrast, a few of the other jewelers pushed me to look at stones with qualifications that weren’t within my requirements.
My issue was getting the biggest bang for my buck. But in reality, I wanted to spend my budget. If I were just trying to save, I would have bought a much smaller center diamond with lower qualifications, but for my future wife, I decided to go all out. I set aside a certain amount of money, and I intended to spend it.
After passing on a diamond that would have only used about 80% of my budget, the jeweler called me back when he found something a little larger that fit my requirements. It was the perfect size and it really sparkled. It was stunning.
But it pushed the price of the ring to very top of my budget. I could have (and would have) paid his price for it, but I promised myself that I would negotiate in this situation. When else would I get to spend thousands of dollars and put the owner in the position of risking a nice sale over a relatively small amount of money? So I finaly built up the courage and this is how our conversation went:
Me: I was hoping to keep the price a little lower.
Tom: I mean, it’s a beautiful ring, I already given a cash discount, and it’s a great price for that stone. Or we could go with the smaller stone that’s significantly cheaper, if that’s what you want.
Me: I don’t know, is there any way we could do it for $XXXXX,500? (I’m not telling you how much I spent, but it certainly had fewer Xs than that!)
Tom: I can’t go that low, but I can split the difference, which comes out to $XXXXX,700.
I shifted in my seat, thinking about it, trying my best negotiating tactic by stalling and seeing if he would react. He didn’t for a full minute, so I gave it one last show.
Me: Can you do it for $XXXXX,600?
Tom: Alright, let’s do it.
Sweet, I saved $300 just by asking! And that’s real savings, not the pretend savings people sometimes claim. It’s not saving if you wouldn’t have paid the higher price!