Does the "what's your best price?" offer work for people?

KokoTele

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I'm helping a buddy sell off some of his surplus gear, and I am both amused and annoyed by some of the offers. I've been careful about my asking prices, finding a good compromise between recent comparable sales and being competitive with other items currently for sale. So far, I think my pricing has been good. Most items have sold quickly, but not too quickly, and either at asking price or close to it.

The haggling strategy that always bothers me is the question "What's your best price?" Does this work for people? Every time I hear it, my reactions include "Why would I bid against myself?" and "Really? That's all the haggling skill you have?" (What can I say? I can be a bit of a hardass sometimes :D) I usually just respond with my asking price, and they are rarely heard from again.

I find the "best price" ask even more annoying than stupid lowball bids. (One guy offered $150 on a vintage lap steel that I'm asking $650 for.) I sometimes wonder if they have any idea what a fair price is. I often price so there is a little room to haggle, but that margin is not the 20 or 30% that a lot of the lowballers ask for.
 

Preacher

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I usually price things about 10% above what I really want to get out of an item. If someone asks what my bottom dollar is I tell them it is what is in the ad, but if they will bring cash today they can take 10% off.
Usually this gets us going, I get what I want and the seller gets a little bit better deal which is what he wants.
 

EsquireOK

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"What's your best price" should never work.

Sure, I'll just lower my price, without a real offer in front of me, just for the sake of conversation with a stranger!

The best response to the question is: "Please feel free to make a binding offer." Most of the time, they'll flake off. People who make that sort of approach generally don't put their money where their mouth is.

However, asking for 20 to 30 percent off isn't lowballing. That's not that much off. It's within the realm of "normal" haggling, and as a seller, you shouldn't be bothered by it. Hell, you get 15 percent as a matter of course at nearly any instrument retailer, and can often get them to go to 20 or 25...and they have major overhead and a legit operation to pay for, unlike Joe Online Seller. And IME, many sellers ask too high, pricing based on asking prices for unsold items (not based on actual selling prices, which we often don't know), expecting offers, or just plain fooling themselves. And some ask high because they don't REALLY want to sell...but they would if they got that high price. And it isn't really lowballing if the item has been there for a while either, IMO. Many sellers are willing to sell for below the market average, and you can't find them if you don't ask.

That said, those offers should probably come after the seller is marinating in frustration from not selling the item for a couple of weeks, or months. Not only does it give them more desire to simply move the item NOW, but it gives ammunition to the idea that your argument/offer is more in line with a realistic selling price.
 
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SixStringSlinger

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It is odd, almost insulting in a way. "what's the lowest I can give you and still get the thing?" No, pay my price and walk, or else take a chance and make an offer. Obviously everyone has an "as low as they will go", even if they're not conscious of just what that is, but why would I publish one price and then submit to you some other, lower price just because you asked me to?

I don't think they're trying to be insulting or annoying. They just know that haggling/negotiating is a thing but have no idea how to go about it. You don't just ask for "your lowest price" and you don't just throw numbers out there. You do research, consider the condition of the item, other factors that can affect the price one way or another (I have to drive a long way to pick it up, or it comes with a case but I don't want it so the seller can sell that separately...) and come up with a number. If they accept, great. If they reject, fine. If they counteroffer, accept or start the process again with that new information.

It's understandable that some people are uncomfortable with that, or otherwise don't want to do it, but that's what the store is for. Go in, pay full price and take it home.

I try to price anything I sell so that it's fair for what it is and also a decent deal for whoever is buying (compared to new or other similar stuff for sale locally), but with enough room for them to haggle me down a bit and I'll still be happy.
 

TomBrokaw

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Give 'em the beans!
When selling locally (CL or OfferUp), I round to the lowest price I'll go in $20 increments and then add about 20% plus $5. So if I want $80, I'll ask $105; if I want $200, I'll ask $245, etc. Reasonable people will offer what I'm asking, and feel like they got a deal, and I got the money I wanted. The $20 increment thing is because usually people need to go to the ATM to get cash.

For online sales (Reverb) I'll just do the lowest I'll go including shipping and fees, plus 20%.

For the "best price" question, I tell people that I am flexible on price but I don't lower my own price, which is a gentler way of saying "I made an offer, now you make a counteroffer."

You should know what the lowest price you'll accept is before you list it. If you're asking $750 for an item, but will take $650, I don't understand the consternation over just telling them your lowest price. Some people just don't like to negotiate.
Because they will take that as the new negotiation point. I did that once for an item I was asking $240. Got the question, responded $200, dude got back to me in 3 minutes offering $180. It's less than I wanted to take but it's also insulting, and that's a factor in sales, like it or not.
 

esseff

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What's your best price?
I've sometimes replied: '£20 more than advertised.'
I've never once come down when someone asked me that. I find it annoying if I've already stated that the price is fixed. If I was open to offers, I'd have said so.
The worst free advertising platform for that sort of thing in the UK is Gumtree. Full of time-wasters and low-ballers.
I advertise at the minimum I'll accept.
 

Sparky472

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No. I always ask more than I would like to get, a strategy anybody selling anything used should employ. Nothing turns off buyers like “price is firm, I won’t budge, don’t even ask.”

When someone asks me what the best I can do is, my standard reply is “make me an offer and I’ll tell you if I can do it.”
 

chris m.

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I'll usually say something along these lines depending on the situation:

1) I just recently listed it, and I think the price is fair. Please give me your contact information and if it doesn't sell in ten days at the asking price I'll look you up.

2) I might be open to a quick deal if you have cash on the table. How much are you willing to offer? I do think the current price is very competitive so I wouldn't want to go down much at all.

3) I was really hoping to get my asking price, which I think is very fair. I might be interested in a trade depending on what it is. How close could you come to my offer in terms of cash, and what
might you have to trade in as well to seal the deal? I've actually been looking for a reverb pedal, and I also need another XLR cable for our P.A. system, so those are a couple of items I'd be interested in.
 

Timbresmith1

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I usually allow 10%.

I also put a tag line:

“Offers for less must be made in person”.
Ime, low-ballers that offer less just want to THINK they’re getting a deal, and then flake/ never show up (I’m talking about Craigslist lowballers, here).

I also suggest that I keep a permanent list of flakes that will be added to my spam list.
 

loopfinding

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i always put used stuff up at around 80% of new...maybe 85-90% if it's really rare+coveted or it’s the lowest one for miles/days.

then my lowest limit is usually around 60-70% of new depending on how fast i want to get rid of it.

the "what's your best price" line sometimes works on me, but i'm factoring that hard low limit into my asking price from the get go. you don't ask what you think you can get, or market rate, that's a great way to screw yourself. you always ask higher (but not high enough that you look unreasonable/untempting).

People are way less turned off by high asking prices that are negotiable than “THAT’S THE PRICE” nonsense, even if the final amount comes out the same. The “straight shooters” out there aren’t doing themselves any favors.

i will usually give them 70-75% (knowing i have wiggle room) depending on how long it's been sitting to see if they bite. you’re not obligated to do a deal.

but when stuff goes through the roof, i count my blessings and undercut the lowest seller - e.g. i bought my staytrem for 70, lowest seller after the shortage was 220 and it had been up for weeks...so i just put it up for 210 and sold it in a matter of days for 190. not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
 
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fleezinator

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Never had to deal with this as I'm not a seller, but as a buyer I always ask. The worst you can tell me is yeah, that's the lowest I'll go. I don't wanna insult a seller with what they might perceive to be a low ball offer. I figure it never hurts to ask.

I saw a J Mascis Jazzmaster in a pawnshop in excellent condition. They were asking $300 & I asked. They lowered it to take off the cost of sales tax.
 




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