Can you negotiate everything you do for a whole day? This guy did.

“I will prove to you that almost anything is price negotiable”. Mack Powers, of, said those words to his date/girlfriend.

To prove his point, he declared the entire day of shopping to be his test/proof. JellyGeneration interviewed Mack recently and you will find his experience fascinating. (It should be noted that Mack wanted to impress this particular date with his mastery of all things finance.)

There is more to negotiation success than save by using cash

This is not an article on “buying with cash helps save you money.” Paying cash often does help, of course, but teaching our kids (and reminding ourselves) that there are other solid principles involved in the buy-sell relationship is crucial.

Have you ever been to the Grapevine Mills Outlet Mall in yes, …Grapevine, Texas? If not, (ok, probably not!) the mall name is truly as advertised - a discount mall. Hence, the “I can negotiate everything challenge” was perhaps even more difficult to achieve. Below is the condensed version of how Mack’s day unfolded.

Buying Stop #1: Clothing Store

Negotiating Point #1: Talk to the right person…even in a department store

Mack needed a pair of slacks and approached the floor salesman.

Mack: “How much will these slacks cost?”
Junior Salesman: “Sir, they are $100.”
Mack: “If I buy more than one pair, can I get a discount?”
Junior Salesman: “No, we are a discount store and it is priced as is.”
Mack: “I know that you are not able to do this, but can I speak to your manager? (spoken in a very nice calm voice)
Junior Salesman: “Yes of course”
Mack to Store Manager: “I like your slacks, but if I bought multiple pair of these slacks what kind of discount will you give me? What if I buy 3 pair?”
Manager to Mack: “Certainly, sir, I can offer you 25% off if you buy 3 pair.”
Mack tells JellyGeneration that he really did need 3 pair, and talking to someone with both the authority and understanding of the overall store goal is crucial. In 1.5 minutes he saved $75, which is a high return on his invested time. Plus, the store sold 3 pair of slacks and inched them closer to their store sales goals for the day.

Mack’s Negotiation Takeaways:
  • Talk to the person with the power to make the decision.
  • If it makes sense, and only if it makes sense, buy in volume.

Buying Stop #2: Restaurant

Negotiating Point #2: Understand your position and the position of the person you are bargaining with

Dinnertime arrived. Mack and his date were already running behind as ultimately they needed to head to the airport to pick up family. Time was in short supply. A very apologetic waiter finally arrived with their meal after a sizeable wait. It was obvious that the restaurant (a famous chain cafe) knew their service was very substandard. After eating quickly, Mack respectfully talked with the waiter:

Mack to Waiter: “The food was fine, but we waited so long for it. Would you be willing to bring us 2 pieces of pie for our lost time? As it stands now, we will pay our bill and leave fully intending to not return.” (Mack again reminds JellyGeneration that both sides knew the service was very subpar.)
Mack Continues Conversation: “If you bring us the pie, we know you intend to treat us correctly. We will promise to come back and will tell others you stand by your customer service.”
Waiter to Mack: “If that’s all it takes to create a happy customer, we are more than happy to do this.”
To this day, Mack speaks highly of this cafe and dines there when possible. Instead of the restaurant having two unhappy people, they walked advocates for the restaurant.

Mack’s Negotiation Takeaways:
  • Always be fair, honest, and respectful. In this instance, had the customer service been good, I would never have approached the restaurant with this proposal.
  • Never underestimate the power you have in the deal. They wanted happy customers and good word of mouth. We wanted our time to be treated as respectfully as the restaurant’s time.  
  • If you end up in a negotiating roadblock, carve out things that you can negotiate in pieces vs. the whole.  (pie vs. overall discount)

Buying Stop #7: Airport  

Negotiating Point #3: Timing Can Be Everything

It was now late in the evening, and they head to D/FW Airport. Nearly all the vendor kiosks had gone home – except Starbucks. Mack’s date heads to the electronic arrival board to locate the correct baggage claim area, and Mack wanders over to Starbucks. He strikes up a casual conversation with the attendant. And then…

Mack to Kiosk Attendant: “It’s been a long day, could you give me a 5% discount on a carmel macchiato?”
Kiosk Attendant to Mack: “Yes, I am closing up and handle that.”
Yes, Mack got his 5% discount, and a great cup of coffee as well.

Mack’s Negotiation Takeaways:
  • You can ask for a discount on anything. You won’t always get it, but as long as you were polite when asking, their “no” is usually returned in the same respectful manner.
  • Building a rapor with others pays off for both parties involved.
  • Often vendors are willing to negotiate when it is time to close shop.

The Day’s Negotiating Results

Yes, Mack did negotiate on everything and received a discount on all 7 purchases. (the girlfriend was impressed)

Mack’s Overall Takeaways:

  • Know what you want out of the deal.
  • Know what the other side wants in the deal.
  • Never be confrontational.
  • Make your negotiating proposal simple, understandable, and painless.
  • Cash isn’t the only tool in a negotiation.
  • Other points could center on:
    • Better quality, or less quality
    • Faster delivery or slower delivery
    • Lower Price, Warranty Length
    • Product add ons or product piece removals

JellyGeneration’s Takeaways

Negotiation tactics are a crucial lesson to teach our young adults. While negotiating for everything isn’t likely, the skill comes in handy in both their personal life and their future business life. It’s a skill that potential employers value. The power of leaving the negotiating table with a win-win mentality can’t be overestimated. Businesses need to make a profit in order to keep their doors open.

About Mack Powers:

Mack Powers has a passion for helping companies establish year over year profitable growth. This means helping companies identify how and where they will compete and win in business and then how to develop and execute on the strategies required to accomplish this success. He has successfully built and sold businesses so he understands the struggles that small and medium size businesses have regarding how to compete profitably. He also understands how to guide businesses to profitable growth.

JellyGeneration thanks Mack for the interview.  His marketing insights are top notch.  

Do you have kids about to leave the nest?  Then you will want to read this "8 Step Parent Action Plan" about what they need to know before flying away.  (it was developed by parents previously in your shoes)

As JellyGeneration says:

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of It ALL

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