Small Staff Associations have a limited budget. Many can’t afford to pay the sticker price for the goods and services they need. That being said, there aren’t a lot of people comfortable talking price. Here are some tips to make you a price negotiation rockstar!
1) Do your research
What is the median price for the good or service you’re shopping for? If you have a vendor in mind, see where their prices start and compare it with their competitors. Finding cheaper prices with a competitor may naturally spur the sales person to get a little more flexible on pricing. Take notes! Ask around!
2) Know what you want without a doubt
Depending on what you’re purchasing, you should know what the must-haves are, what would be preferred, and what would be a nice bonus. Besides the fact that this will help you choose a vendor, it will also help you with appropriate pricing and avoid buying extra things you don’t need.
3) Shop the sales
There are few things in this world that never go on sale. Unless you’re buying concert tickets or a luxury vehicle for your team (which is doubtful) you should be able to do a little research and find a time where prices are lower. Does your needed product have an “off season?”
4) Consult everyone
Get your biggest critic in on the negotiations. When that person voices his or her concerns, it sets a whole separate tone to any purchasing decision. For example, if you are looking to purchase an AMS, get the board member who voted against the purchase to sit in on a demo if he or she is willing. The tough questions about pricing and practicality may shed light on some wiggle room in pricing you didn’t know you had. For big decisions like that, the more questions the better. And it may turn out that the purchase might not be the best decision at this time anyway! Which leads to the last point…
5) Know when to call it
When you get the right price, jump on it. Often promotional pricing may require special permissions or a limited time, and although it’s tempting to see if you can get a few extra dollars knocked off, (they went for it once, right, why not again?) holding out may take you out of the window of a promotion.
Alternatively, be willing to admit that it’s time to walk away. For example, say you’ve been working with a local venue to set up a conference or an annual meeting. You really want the location: it’s convenient and appropriate. They really want the business. If they have come down as far as they can in pricing and you’ve reached the max your budget allowed and it still wouldn’t fit, then maybe it’s time to move on. This is important to voice for two reasons: 1) you’d be amazed at the Hail Mary price drops when a vendor thinks you’re leaving and 2) if everyone is maxxed out on offerings it’s wasting everyone’s time with more haggling.
Are you shopping for an AMS? That’s an even more complicated process, and since it’s such a long-term solution you need to be absolutely sure that you find the right one within your budget that fits your needs. If you need some help, download our free guide to shopping for an AMS!