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#2134061 - 08/16/13 09:24 PM How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer?  
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Pianist4ever Offline
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I'm looking at one model of piano in two sizes and prefer the the larger one. The dealer has already stated his asking price, giving me the discount for piano teachers (which I am).

First, is it rude to ask him to go below his piano teacher discount?

Second, my preference is the larger instrument. Can I negotiate for that without giving away my highest spendable amount (and therefore paying more for the smaller instrument than necessary if he can't come low enough on the larger?)

Third, more than one dealer within reasonable driving distance sells this maker. Can I play them off each-other? Is that rude negotiating?

Any tips for a shy negotiator? I always feel like I'm insulting someone to ask him to take a lower price.

I appreciate any suggestions.

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#2134073 - 08/16/13 09:41 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Question 1 - Not at all. You are free to negotiate.

Question 2 - Never give away your price considerations. Keep your cards close to your vest. Statements like "that's a big stretch for me" don't reveal your top dollar. Negotiate each piano separately. They will have different profit margins and there may be other considerations known only to the dealer.

Question 3 - There is nothing wrong with shopping at other dealers. If they know you are doing it, they may become more aggressive in their pricing to get your business.

Good Luck,


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2134115 - 08/16/13 11:11 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Once they indicate they're willing to negotiate, it's no holds barred. They are gonna try to get as much out of you as they can, and you should try to get the best deal you can. Feel free to even play the two dealers off of one another. Each wants to sell a piano more than you want to buy it.

Negotiating on two models at the same place is only as awkward as you make it, because you'll have to determine some sort of equilibrium between the two models--what each's value is to you. I'd just tell the dealer, "these are the two models I'm interested in...what's your best price on each?"

Some who really knows how to sell is not going to be offended by you being direct about these sorts of things.


I M A G I N A T I O N is more important than knowledge -Albert Einstein
#2134137 - 08/17/13 12:17 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Yes, piano dealers are like car dealers. They're all about haggling. If you don't haggle with them you'll be the center of their jokes for at least a couple of weeks.

I think the best way to negotiate anything is to get as many offers on the table as possible. Go to other dealers, Craiglsist, try to get them to give you a quote with minimum padding, even for pianos you don't want. Then when negotiating either piano, just let him know what he's competing against. It can even be a slightly inferior or older piano, but it gives him a target to work his price towards.

Oh yeah, and Larry Fine's book's SMP prices are pretty inflated. Remember, Larry Fine makes his money selling ads to piano dealers.

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#2134148 - 08/17/13 12:42 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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I'm shy too, but come on, the piano is one of the best parts of life. Don't worry about 'being rude' while trying to get the best possible instrument at the best possible price . . . dealers are cutthroat and they know the drill. Their feelings ain't gonna hurt.

On the strategic side, I agree with the other posters that you should mention both pianos you're interested in, but not how much you're willing to pay (in direct terms). So, maybe:

"I'd like to try model X. [After trying] How much for X? [Haggle it down] Well, dealer ABC offered me this price, are you willing to match that?" and so forth,

and then, when that's over, you can repeat the process with the other model you're interested in.

Note: this only works for pianos.


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#2134181 - 08/17/13 03:31 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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I agree with all the above advice so far. If I were in your position, my next steps would be:

- Visit the other dealer and find out their prices. Get them to start with an opening price without giving away either your budget or the quoted prices you have from the dealer you already visited - you never know, they might open with a lower price than you ever expected.

- If they open with a higher price than the first dealer, tell them it's too high, but again don't reveal the price you have from the first dealer right away.

- Don't be afraid to make a dealer an offer of how much you are willing to pay rather than just waiting for them to lower their prices to your level. Your first offer should be below how much you realistically expect to pay, because you will inevitably have to negotiate further and meet an agreed price with the dealer somewhere between the dealer's latest price and your offer.

Also, don't forget all the other extras you can get out of a piano purchase deal! What about delivery, a new piano stool, tunings/service visits? You might reach a sticking point and there is still a gap between what you're willing to pay and what the dealer wants you to pay. You could for example suggest that if the dealer includes a couple of 'free' service visits within the first year, or includes 'free' delivery then you'll agree to his price. This way he can offer you something which might be of a lower cost to him, but higher value to you and you both share the gain from this rather than fighting territorially over a cash sum.

Good luck and have fun! smile

Last edited by pogmoger; 08/17/13 03:35 AM.
#2134248 - 08/17/13 08:42 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: BornInTheUSA]  
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Originally Posted by michaelh

Oh yeah, and Larry Fine's book's SMP prices are pretty inflated. Remember, Larry Fine makes his money selling ads to piano dealers.


Larry's income from dealers is a very small percentage of his overall income - far less that would be of influence on the SMP. Your comment slurs an industry professional who has earned his reputation for integrity.

Further, the SMP, with its range of discounts is a valid guide for selling prices in the U.S.


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#2134268 - 08/17/13 09:36 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: BornInTheUSA]  
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Originally Posted by michaelh
Oh yeah, and Larry Fine's book's SMP prices are pretty inflated. Remember, Larry Fine makes his money selling ads to piano dealers.
What makes you think they're inflated?

Do you realize that Fine says to expect a discount from SMP as the selling price?

Do you realize that Fine has been giving SMP's for more than two decades long before there were any ads in the PB??

#2134280 - 08/17/13 09:52 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: BornInTheUSA]  
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Originally Posted by michaelh
Oh yeah, and Larry Fine's book's SMP prices are pretty inflated. Remember, Larry Fine makes his money selling ads to piano dealers.

I find this statement to be not only incorrect, but also appalling in its implication.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2134296 - 08/17/13 10:39 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Fine's SMP stands for "Suggested Maximum Price" meaning that you should be below that. In fact, read the "Acoustic Piano Model & Pricing Guide" section (starting at the link below in the current edition and continuing for two and a half pages) for the full explanation. He's pretty clear about how this works.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/spring13/204.html

To the OP - there's good advice above. It's like car shopping. Do research on how to negotiate that if you want, or bring a friend who likes to haggle. smile

#2134322 - 08/17/13 11:35 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: BornInTheUSA]  
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Last edited by rlinkt; 08/17/13 11:57 AM.
#2134325 - 08/17/13 11:48 AM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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I want a good deal also and when buying my recent piano, I did negotiate some. I had a price in mind and at what I felt was the right time made an offer.

Also important to me was a dealer who would remain in business ready to help me with any questions/concerns I would have after purchase. If everyone went in trying to "steal" their purchase, we would not have many places to shop.

Good luck,

Jonathan

#2134329 - 08/17/13 12:02 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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There's another option here. Simply decide which piano you can afford, and which dealer you prefer to patronize. Graciously accept a teacher's discount. Then write a check.


#2134370 - 08/17/13 02:04 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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I tend to agree with Peter. Somewhere between "Fair" and "The Lowest" price is the margin that allows the dealer to keep his pianos in a showroom instead of a warehouse, keep them tuned and prepped and stay in business long enough to show you the after sale care that you invested in.

Kurt


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#2134386 - 08/17/13 02:51 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Hello Peter,

I don't think it is 'gracious' to accept the first discounted price a piano dealer offers you without testing the waters. 'Foolish' springs to mind, actually.

I don't think I've ever been to a music store in my life (pianos, electronic keyboards, violins, you name it) where a salesperson hasn't dropped their price or thrown in a 'free' item at least twice during discussing a potential sale - which tells me that their initial price was BS. Often you don't even have to ask - just let them talk long enough, and they'll do it unprompted.

Now where the line for a dealer between profit and loss lies, I don't know, but I do know that their prices are generally not rigid. The industry has in effect chosen this way of doing business. Therefore there is no shame in a customer looking after their interests, whilst a dealer has every right to refuse a punitive sale price.

Please understand, I'm not advocating that every retail experience should be a potential negotiation - in most shopping situations, the price on the label is the price you pay, end of story. Nor am I advocating that we should all go out and try to hammer prices down until all piano dealers are out of business - why would a dealer even agree to a price that's too low in the first place?

It works both ways - hard working dealers deserve to get a price for a piano which allows then to earn a decent living, just as a customer who has worked hard to earn their money deserves not be ripped off. Both should go into a sales negotiation with their eyes open. Or piano dealers could just start advertising their actual, realistic prices openly and honestly.

Last edited by pogmoger; 08/17/13 02:55 PM.
#2134458 - 08/17/13 05:48 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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I think your spending too much time hedging around. Narrow your negotiations to the piano you want and make a reasonable offer.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#2134489 - 08/17/13 06:59 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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BornInTheUSA Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by michaelh
Oh yeah, and Larry Fine's book's SMP prices are pretty inflated. Remember, Larry Fine makes his money selling ads to piano dealers.
What makes you think they're inflated?

Do you realize that Fine says to expect a discount from SMP as the selling price?

Do you realize that Fine has been giving SMP's for more than two decades long before there were any ads in the PB??


Apparently lots of Larry Fine fans here. haha

Well at least we're all in agreement that the SMP has a 10-30% wiggle room (= inflated). Fine says one thing, how more transparency "greases the wheel of commerce" yet his SMP prices are pretty worthless. If it's just a relative number to compare brands/models, then what's wrong with MSRP? I mean, neither MSRP or SMP are what you should pay, unless you're in a hurry and didn't read all that pretext about SMP.

Not sure why it's considered rude to post "prices paid" on this forum. The digital forum has a thread like that. I do think that helps EVERYONE. It'll get people fair prices that won't make them sick when they find out they overpaid by 50%, it'll increase volume on new pianos which obviously helps the dealers & manufacturers. I think a lot of people go to the piano stores, see the sticker price, the inflated "quote", or the SMP and think that's close to the real price so they end up settling for some old piano on Craigslist (which there's nothing wrong with, recycling is good).

Not sure why everyone blew a gasket when I pointed out the potential conflict of interest. And I'm not sure what his business model was prior to his website. Maybe manufacturers paid him for extra coverage in his brand profile section. And I doubt it was from selling his book. But he's definitely selling ads to piano dealers now and naturally you don't want to do anything to upset your paying customers.

#2134503 - 08/17/13 07:38 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: BornInTheUSA]  
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"Dear" Michaelh,
I am no longer a dealer, so I'll say what some of the other dealers could not. You're an a$$hole. We all aren't "all about haggling". In fact, some of my customers were crushed that my prices were listed on the pianos and I went for the "cut to the chase" level at the get-go.
As far as Larry Fine goes, learn how to read! He explains himself very cleary. Not everyone is out to get you.
Give dealers a chance. Some of them are quite good and don't have to be "worked around".


Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.
#2134512 - 08/17/13 07:54 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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I was not crushed. Heck, I'm offended that you would think so … smile

Pianist4ever,

Look, there is nothing wrong with negotiating to test the waters. But know the reasonable range. Fine is good at giving that to you. Depending on the brand, strike prices can indeed be 10-30% below Fine's SMP. Heck, if the dealer needs cash, you might even be able to get a few more percentage points knocked off. Having more than one dealer in the process can help you find a good price, but please, don't go back and forth between dealers pushing for the last red cent. That's annoying and unproductive behavior. Be up front and honest. Know your bottom line. Then the process can be fairly easy and pleasant.

#2134514 - 08/17/13 07:57 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
I was not crushed. Heck, I'm offended that you would think so … smile

Pianist4ever,

Look, there is nothing wrong with negotiating to test the waters. But know the reasonable range. Fine is good at giving that to you. Depending on the brand, strike prices can indeed be 10-30% below Fine's SMP. Heck, if the dealer needs cash, you might even be able to get a few more percentage points knocked off. Having more than one dealer in the process can help you find a good price, but please, don't go back and forth between dealers pushing for the last red cent. That's annoying and unproductive behavior. Be up front and honest. Know your bottom line. Then the process can be fairly easy and pleasant.


Great post.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#2134515 - 08/17/13 08:00 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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What they said.

Last edited by Catlady; 08/17/13 08:01 PM.

Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.
#2134521 - 08/17/13 08:07 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Hee-hee
P-Daddy, I was NOT referring to you!


Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.
#2134522 - 08/17/13 08:12 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Cathy,

You were practically unique in having marked prices on the pianos that were truly in the right ball park.

Maybe just a touch high … smile , but really realistic. If someone paid your asking price, they were NOT taken. They got a good price.

Oh, and working with you was a pleasure.

#2134524 - 08/17/13 08:16 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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AND they got free mani-pedies, massages and groceries for a year! Oh, did I forget to tell you that?


Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.
#2134527 - 08/17/13 08:22 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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NOW I find out …


I think we're diverting this thread. Too much fun.

#2134528 - 08/17/13 08:26 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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yes, you're right....
Now back to our regularly scheduled program...


Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.
#2134529 - 08/17/13 08:31 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Go ahead and negotiate. The worst that will happen is that someone will say no. Nobody will die over this.
Do your due diligence. Be ready to walk away. Bring your checkbook for the right offer. This SHOULD be a good experience.


Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.
#2134538 - 08/17/13 08:58 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Catlady]  
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Originally Posted by Catlady
"Dear" Michaelh,
I am no longer a dealer, so I'll say what some of the other dealers could not. You're an a$$hole. We all aren't "all about haggling". In fact, some of my customers were crushed that my prices were listed on the pianos and I went for the "cut to the chase" level at the get-go.
As far as Larry Fine goes, learn how to read! He explains himself very cleary. Not everyone is out to get you.
Give dealers a chance. Some of them are quite good and don't have to be "worked around".


Ok, you might be the exception, but you have to admit most dealers require haggling. If not, why are their sticker prices 1 - 50%+ above what they're really willing to sell for? Because their business depends on some % of shoppers to pay the sticker price.

My point to the OP was it is not rude at all to haggle since most dealers expect it.

#2134546 - 08/17/13 09:25 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: BornInTheUSA]  
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Softening a bit from your first couple of posts....
Listen, no one ever said it's against the the law to try and get the best price. Just be fair (on BOTH ends).
Larry Fine does the very best he can to print honest prices in his book. I know this, because about six or seven years ago, he hurt his back and I helped him to compile his book. All he can do is print the prices given to him from the manufacturers. Much to their dismay, Larry knows enough dealers, that he can speak about "street prices" with some authority. If you read his book carefully, you will glean much information. Larry is not "bought" by anyone.


Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.
#2134547 - 08/17/13 09:25 PM Re: How do I negotiate on two pianos at the same dealer? [Re: Pianist4ever]  
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Michaelh,

The reason there has been such a strong reaction to your comments about Larry Fine and Piano Buyer's pricing guidance is that you imply that Larry is influence by conflicts of interest.

It is true that there are many potential conflicts of interest. But the many who have read his works for many years haven't seen any evidence that he has actually been affected by them. They remain potential.

In addition to currently being a consultant to Larry and a contributing editor, I was his advertising director for the first 3 years of publication. To help "insulate" Larry I did all solicitation of advertising. There were several instances where advertisers or potential advertisers tried to influence editorial content. We know that Larry's sterling reputation is his most valuable asset. It would be the height of foolishness to risk diminishing that asset by allowing one or more of our over 100 advertisers to influence the publication.

Further, I don't think you read the introduction to the pricing section. The MSRP is an arbitrary figure set by the manufacturer. The SMP however, is based on a uniform formula applied to the wholesale price of all manufacturers. The 10%-30% discount range allows for the differences in the varying costs of doing business (overhead) in differing markets and differing dealerships and services included.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
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