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Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price #2869197
07/14/19 10:48 AM
07/14/19 10:48 AM
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Southeast US
ShiroKuro Offline OP
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I asked this in another thread, but I thought it might be good for it to be its own thread, so here goes.

Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question but:

How exactly do you go about trying to bargain the price down? By which I mean, literally, what do you say?

"I can't pay $30K, how low can you go?" (then the dealers says $25K and you counter offer??)

"I will give you $20K for this piano. Will that work for you?" (then dealer gets offended and asks you to leave the store? whome )

I won't be purchasing a piano in this price range (more like half or less), but there's a piano (used grand at a dealer's) that I've looked at and that I really like. It's listed at around $22,000. I happen to know that this piano is not all that well-known around here, and the dealer mentioned to me that he might have a hard time selling it because it's not a Steinway, nor a Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin... So, say my budget is a hard and fast $15,000 exactly.

What would I say? "How low can you go?" Or be upfront and say "I really want to buy this piano, I can give you $15,000 for it out the door. Can you do that for me?"

Are there other ways to go about this kind of bargaining?

Then, say with a private seller who's asking $10,000 it makes sense to me to say "I will need to pay for the moving, and two-three extra tunings since you neglected it for so long, since it's not in tune right now, I'll give you $8000 for it" -- would that be the right way to go about it?

The only other things in this price range I've ever purchased are a car, and I didn't bargain hard, and a house (ok, not in this price range but anyway). With the house, we had our agent doing all the negotiations, so again it's not the same as a piano purchase where it's me and the dealer speaking directly, and when I think about trying to negotiate a lower price on a piano, I feel like it's just a black hole and I have no idea of how to even start.

So thanks in advance for any comments, advice, or "here's how I did it" stories!

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 07/14/19 10:50 AM. Reason: changed title

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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869201
07/14/19 11:03 AM
07/14/19 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
How exactly do you go about trying to bargain the price down? By which I mean, literally, what do you say?


I would say something like: "I would love to have this piano, but it is rather more expensive than I can afford. Is there any way you could lower the price a bit? My budget is 35K."
If they say 40K, you are very lucky, but don't say immediately "Yes!" because then the salesperson would feel they lowered the price too much. Keep on bargaining a bit, think it over, and then be grateful and say something like: "Okay, I'll take you offer. Thank you so much, it's very decent of you. It is still too much for my budget, but I'll find a way to make it work."

One caveat: I am Dutch, living in Sweden, and bargaining may be done in a different way in other countries.


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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869209
07/14/19 11:12 AM
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I think it's important to know what a reasonable price(from the dealer's perspective) is.

Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869212
07/14/19 11:23 AM
07/14/19 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
How exactly do you go about trying to bargain the price down? By which I mean, literally, what do you say?

"I can't pay $30K, how low can you go?" (then the dealers says $25K and you counter offer??)

"I will give you $20K for this piano. Will that work for you?" (then dealer gets offended and asks you to leave the store? whome )

Hi, ShiroKuro,

I've been following your piano shopping threads with interest. I've been where you are... smile

Here are my thoughts (a sample of one); I do not think the quote "then dealer gets offended and asks you to leave the store" would happen face to face and in person, although it is possible, but not likely. The dealer would tell you they will not sell the piano for your offer (politely, most likely), and then the song-and-dance negotiations continue.

On the other hand, I did have a dealer to tell me once, via back and forth emails, that "they were done with me because if couldn't trust them to properly price their pianos, they didn't need me as a customer"; so, yes, it can happen, but I doubt he would have told me this face to face, but I could be wrong.

I don't consider myself a good price negotiator either, and am a bit shy and timid to an extent, but, like any consumer, I do want the lowest price I can get and keep as much of what little money I have as possible for other things that I need.

Otherwise, I think you know the approach that works best for you. What I really despise, and it will flip that switch from shy and timid to blunt and assertive, is for a salesperson to tell me something that is not true and I find out about it. It's hard to know for 100% sure if everything they are telling you is true, but if it does turn out that they told you something that is not true, that is a "get out of Dodge" sign for sure. If they will be dishonest with you in one area, they will be dishonest with you in other areas.

Of course, holding their cards and not revealing all the info regarding their price and the negotiation process is not being dishonest. That is just how it works. You don't know how much they would actually sell the piano for, and have to go through the song and dance routine of negotiations.

Not sure this helps, but I hope it does. But it sounds like you already know what to do and how to do it... smile

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869213
07/14/19 11:24 AM
07/14/19 11:24 AM
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Southeast US
ShiroKuro Offline OP
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Animisha, thanks for those comments!

Just fyi for anyone who doesn't know, I am in the US, somewhat rural area, and will most likely be shopping/buying in N. Carolina, S. Carolina or Georgia. All of the dealers around here that I've talked to so far (granted, that's not that many), have mentioned things about how buyers in this area don't really know piano brands beyond Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin, and several people have commented that 5'3" is the size that really sells. These points are relevant, IMO, because it means I may have more competition for one of those models, and less competition for just about any other piano.

pianoloverus, I don't know if it's possible to know what the dealer thinks is a reasonable price, especially with regard to a used grand piano. There are so many factors, like how big is it? How old is it? What are the most common sizes people buy in this area? What makes/models are most commonly purchased? How much work/prep did the dealer that the buyer doesn't know about? How long has the piano be sitting in the showroom? What time of the month is it? Would it make a significant difference for that seller to sell the piano before X date? Is the piano being sold on consignment, or did the dealer pay for it outright? Is there any scenario under which the dealer would sell it at a loss?

My assumption is, the dealer is not going to show his hand (sorry for the pun). Any seller, dealer or private, most likely has an absolute lowest number below which they will not go.

So what I am asking is not "how can I figure out the dealer's perspective" or something, but instead, literally, what words should I say? How direct can I be? What kinds of things should I not say, for fear of offending the dealer/seller and making things worse?


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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869216
07/14/19 11:29 AM
07/14/19 11:29 AM
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ShiroKuro Offline OP
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Rick, I think we were simul-posting!

Quote
If they will be dishonest with you in one area, they will be dishonest with you in other areas. .

I think this is so true. Of course there are some things where you might imagine a seller fudging or exaggerating, I can live with that. But an outright falsehood, no thank you!

Quote
But it sounds like you already know what to do and how to do it...


I think you have too much faith in me! laugh

I have never "played hard ball" before (so to speak), but I do have a budget limit, and I would hate to 1) miss out on a piano because I didn't negotiate enough, or 2) pay more than the dealer would have sold it to me for because I didn't ask or say the right thing.

The whole thing is kind of terrifying actually!

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 07/14/19 11:30 AM.

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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869229
07/14/19 12:18 PM
07/14/19 12:18 PM
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Before you go, know your budget (both preferred and maximum), try to know a little about your local market conditions (lots of higher priced, higher service dealers, or the reverse). If you’re in the US, know the Piano Buyer pricing data for what you’re considering.

I am also a person who doesn’t like to dicker over pricing. For all the digital and acoustic pianos I’ve bought as an adult (7 now, unbelievably, but I only currently have 4 in different locations), I never actually haggled over the price. It either was what I wanted at an acceptable price, or it wasn’t. Ironically, I’m much less shy about haggling on behalf of my institution.


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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869231
07/14/19 12:27 PM
07/14/19 12:27 PM
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Thanks for your comments TD!

Quote
Ironically, I’m much less shy about haggling on behalf of my institution.


Actually, that makes perfect sense to me. I think for some of us (me anyway) haggling is hard because we don't want to appear stingy, or poor, or unreasonable. And haggling can feel confrontational. But if the haggling is done for business/workplace, it's not me that is stingy, or poor, or unreasonable... It's easier to be all-business, not personal.

So maybe that's one thing I need to do, make sure I think of it as a business transaction, all business, nothing personal. That's probably a good way to start.


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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869235
07/14/19 12:42 PM
07/14/19 12:42 PM
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If $15,000 is what you are willing to pay for the piano, then be firm. Don't tentatively ask if they can do something for you. You need to get a feel for their negotiating tactics. If you want to finish at $15,000 you may need to start lower and let them feel good about working you up. Otherwise, tell them you have exactly $15,000 to spend, not a nickel more, and there is only one piano in their shop which you will consider. They can have your business or you will find a piano elsewhere. Take it or leave it. They negotiate sales all day long every day. They can take it. Be prepared to walk out.

Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869237
07/14/19 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro

pianoloverus, I don't know if it's possible to know what the dealer thinks is a reasonable price, especially with regard to a used grand piano. There are so many factors, like how big is it? How old is it? What are the most common sizes people buy in this area? What makes/models are most commonly purchased? How much work/prep did the dealer that the buyer doesn't know about? How long has the piano be sitting in the showroom? What time of the month is it? Would it make a significant difference for that seller to sell the piano before X date? Is the piano being sold on consignment, or did the dealer pay for it outright? Is there any scenario under which the dealer would sell it at a loss?
The starting place to find a ballpark reasonable price is the SMP plus discount for a new piano and the Piano Buyer depreciation schedule for a used piano. All the other things you mentioned can affect the dealer's lowest price but I think the idea is just to have a ballpark figure.

Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869239
07/14/19 12:54 PM
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Re: oldMH's suggestions, sometime it helps if you show them a check already made out to them in the amount of $15,000. Or, for smaller purchases elsewhere, count out the cash for what you're willing to pay.


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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869261
07/14/19 01:59 PM
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It depends on whether you regard your purchase as transactional or relational. If the former, then go to a bunch of dealers to get their initial best price, then go a second round, letting all the dealers know the best price you have gotten so far and that you are going to buy (all cash is best) on a certain date and the best price gets the business. Don't expect good after sales service, help, etc. since the dealer knows that you are buying just for price and that he won't be getting any further business or recommendations from you based on any service or relationship established. There is probably a dealer, maybe more than one, that needs the business more than another dealer and is will to sell closer to (or even sometimes below) cost just to meet obligations. Spread your net widely and you could land a great deal. Obviously this works best for commodities, and a piano, depending on supply and demand might be such a commodity. The more flexible you are in brand and model and the wider the geographical spread, the better the chance of getting a great price.


Last edited by astrotoy; 07/14/19 02:00 PM.

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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869289
07/14/19 04:13 PM
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Rather than a formulaic approach, which is impossible or everyone would have the deal of a lifetime, I would consider upfront honesty. Isn't transparency and honesty what you want from the other party? As others note, consider as much as you can other information available to you. They can only say yes or no, after all. No isn't so bad, just reality at times. Mutually agreeable selling price--the rest is noise.

Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869317
07/14/19 05:47 PM
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A couple of questions: Does $15,000 "out the door" include sales tax? Moving? First tuning?

The key to bargaining about anything is to be prepared to walk away.

And the line about "people around here don't understand piano brands" is likely to be just that--a line, designed to flatter you.

Having said all of this, remember that piano dealers have to make a living too!

Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869382
07/15/19 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by oldMH
They negotiate sales all day long every day. They can take it. Be prepared to walk out.

This is ture, and they are likely very good at it. They (salespeople) can read you like a book and most always have the upper hand. On the other hand, it is not often that consumers buy a very expensive item where they have to negotiate and they are not as trained and experienced at it as the salespeople are.

I bought a new GM vehicle at the end of the year to get the year-end model closeout sales. I had not bought a new vehicle in 15 years (2004). They (dealer/salesman) played me like a fiddle, but I thought I got a pretty good deal. Still, I've had buyers remorse since when I thought about how much it cost (but it sure does ride and drive good:-).

By the same token, it is not often someone buys a new/new-to-them grand piano, and most piano shoppers are not likely up to speed on the negotiation process, although some, like ShiroKuro, do their homework and prepare themselves as best they can.

Rick


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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869388
07/15/19 01:22 AM
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If the price is $30,000 and you say I will pay $20,000 for the piano. The dealer will know well that is $20,000
in the bank! Perhaps the piano has been on the floor
a long time and is costing money.
I would say $20,000 is a serious offer.But then you need to be brave and if you do not hear from him go
to the store and try the piano again.You may well get it for $23,000 with delivery and 2 tunings.
I wish we had been braver we just may have got the
piano a bit cheaper.We were however patient and certainly could not have paid the original price.
We waited about a month and then went back to the
store and played the piano again !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 07/15/19 01:27 AM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869461
07/15/19 09:46 AM
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This is not the same thing, and somewhat different (not as much money involved) but years ago I went to look at an old upright piano being sold locally. I took my tuning hammer and asked the owner if I could test the tightness of the tuning pins, and I actually tuned several notes that were way out of tune. The piano began to sound much better in short order. In fact, the owne set down on the bench and began to play a bit, and she could play well.

I made her an offer on the piano, which was less than she was asking. She thought a few minutes, and said no, she didn't want to sell it for that price. I said okay, and thanked her for allowing me to look at it, and that it now in better tune than before I arrived.

About a month later, the lady called me and said she had reconsidered and decided to accept my offer for the piano. But it was too late, because I had already bought another project piano. She seemed disappointed.

Moral of the story? If you make an offer, and the seller doesn't accept immediately, be willing to walk away and let them think on it a while. You might be surprised at the results... smile

Rick


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Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: astrotoy] #2869463
07/15/19 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by astrotoy
It depends on whether you regard your purchase as transactional or relational. If the former, then go to a bunch of dealers to get their initial best price, then go a second round, letting all the dealers know the best price you have gotten so far and that you are going to buy (all cash is best) on a certain date and the best price gets the business. Don't expect good after sales service, help, etc. since the dealer knows that you are buying just for price and that he won't be getting any further business or recommendations from you based on any service or relationship established.There is probably a dealer, maybe more than one, that needs the business more than another dealer and is will to sell closer to (or even sometimes below) cost just to meet obligations. Spread your net widely and you could land a great deal. Obviously this works best for commodities, and a piano, depending on supply and demand might be such a commodity. The more flexible you are in brand and model and the wider the geographical spread, the better the chance of getting a great price.
I don't think approach is reasonable unless one wants to do extensive traveling. Dealers won't quote price unless you visit the dealership and if you want a specific make and model there are rarely more than one dealer close by selling that piano.

Many people want to try out a potential candidate more than once before buying it so that's another major disadvantage of resorting to extensive traveling when buying a piano. If one is willing to buy a variety of makes/models then quoting a lower available price on different piano isn't likely to get a dealer to lower their price on a different piano.

Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: Lady Bird] #2869468
07/15/19 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
If the price is $30,000 and you say I will pay $20,000 for the piano. The dealer will know well that is $20,000
in the bank! Perhaps the piano has been on the floor
a long time and is costing money. I would say $20,000 is a serious offer.
If 30K was already a good price for the particular piano then I don't think 20K is even close to a serious offer. For example, if the 30K was already 30% off SMP I don't think a dealer would consider 20K except under the most unusual circumstances.

That's why it's important to know how good the price offered by the dealer is.

Re: Question: How to negotiate/haggle over price [Re: ShiroKuro] #2869474
07/15/19 10:29 AM
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Get an idea of how speculative the dealer's pricing is. Look up the retail price of some new pianos he has and compare what he's asking for them. Look at several used instruments in his showroom and ask yourself if his prices are reasonable. If you don't trust your experience, hire a piano tech to do it, if you can find one who does not rely on that dealer for a lot of work. It may be that there isn't one in a small market. Spend an hour looking up prices for similar pianos in similar condition on the Internet.
Generally, you can get 10% off the asking price. Some dealers mark the price up enough to allow 20%. You should not expect one-third to one-half off.
I'm in favor of just making your highest offer first, if it is reasonable. It is customary for the seller to pay for local delivery and for the first tuning after delivery, about a month after. Also, beware of the "parts only" warranty; it is labor that is the big cost in any piano repair.

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