Here are some tips from bargain hunter Jeff Schwarz, star of the new TV show "The Liquidator." He has close to 100,000 square feet of retail and warehouse space in Vancouver where his mantra is to keep the goods moving.
— Never pay retail.
"If you cough up the asking price, you walk away knowing you've left money on the table. There's always a deal to be had — suck it up and make an offer."
— Have them bring the deal to you.
"Someone who really wants to sell their item may offer to bring it to you if they think you're interested in making a deal. This gives you the home turf advantage. So if they're willing to bring it to your door, jump at the chance. They will have already invested the time to come see you and will be even more motivated to make a deal."
— Think fast.
"To gain the upper hand in any negotiation, you need to learn to think on your feet. You can learn a lot in the first few minutes of a deal. You may learn how badly they need to sell and that will inform you on how to play your cards. So listen up!"
— Don't be afraid to ask.
"You can lessen your risk by really knowing and understanding the product you are buying. Inspect the merchandise for damage and defects. And don't be afraid to call in an expert to help you appraise the item if it's something you're unfamiliar with. Knowledge is power."
— Never let them see you sweat.
"Play your cards close to your chest. If a seller can smell how badly you want an item, you're sunk."
— Think big.
"Set your sights on establishing relationships as opposed to simply closing deals. One deal might lead to another if you remember to keep the big picture in mind."
— Be willing to walk away.
"If you're not willing to walk away from the item when the price starts climbing over your comfort level, you're going to end up making a bad deal. You can't let it get under your skin if you're trying to get a good price. Sure, you might get the item, but at the end of the day, if you know you paid too much, then it's not worth it."
— Know your product.
"Your items won't sell themselves. Know the selling features of your item including what it would cost to buy new, and what other similar items would go for. Do your homework."
— Always leave room on the plate.
"Leave room on the plate in a negotiation. In other words, make a profit, but don't always feel like you have to make the biggest profit at all costs. Leave something for the other guy.... If they walk away feeling they've been treated fairly, they're likely to come back, or tell others about you."
— Never fall in love with your merchandise.
"Nothing will kill a deal faster than love. Your merchandise is your bank account — you'll never get your money out if you get too attached."
— Always look for the up-sell.
"A customer is a captive audience so use your time with them wisely. Think beyond the deal at hand — do you have anything else you could sell them while you're at it? There's nothing more satisfying than a good up-sell."
— Time is money.
"Hanging on to product costs you money — both in terms of handling and storage costs. More often than not, it pays to move your merchandise as quickly as possible (even if that means selling at a reduced rate). Holding out for the 'big sale' can end up costing you big time."
— Never accept their first offer.
"Accepting the first offer is almost as bad as paying retail. Grow a pair and negotiate!"
— Everyone's a winner.
"The best deals are the ones where everyone walks away feeling like a winner. If you can make a profit and still leave the customer feeling like they got a good deal, then you've done your job. Create a win-win situation and you will have no shortage of return customers."
Source: Jeff Schwarz, "The Liquidator" on OLN.