Best secrets to increase your bargaining power
As people browse, apart from keeping an eye on your items, discretely keep an eye on how interested people are with a particular item. If they spend time inspecting it then you know they are interested in buying it and they've just lost their bargaining power. Instead of you trying to sell the item, it's a case of them trying to buy it from you and you can now get away with not dropping your price as much.
Give stuff away
If you have a pile of items you think have no or little value and you think no one would probably buy them, put them in a box marked "FREE" and place it near the front of your garage sale. Apparently people are then less likely to haggle as much on the other priced items.
Think like a buyer
You can then say the things they want to hear to encourage them to buy.
Keep it personal
Chatting to them during the process with either small-talk or why you're having a garage sale helps to keep things personal and the customer may feel sympathetic towards you and not be too hard with the haggling.
Watch out though, as they may turn this around and use it on you to feel sympathetic towards them and to get you down to their price.
With some items, explaining its background or a 'colorful' story behind it may help increase its appeal and desire by the buyer. The plain old object now has meaning and history and people find it harder to resist buying something that has character or a past. You might find this hard to work with a toaster but it works well with character pieces like a grandfather clock or even a set of golf clubs.
Always be friendly
Always be friendly to all customers even if they are rude and abrupt. They may very well be rude and abrupt but they also may be doing this on purpose to intimidate you. By being friendly and unconcerned, this will weaken their bargaining position that they were trying for.
Don't advertise or say your closing time
Customers will expect bargain-basement prices at the end when you're desperate to sell what's left. If they ask when your garage sale will end, just say "when everything has sold" or be vague and say "I still have a bit left so I think I'll keep it open for a day or so longer. I might even try again next weekend."
Price items as already been reduced
If your initial price is $10 then mark it as $20, cross this out and write $10 beside it. People will think they are already getting a bargain. Retail stores do it (don't they?) so why not you. Works for all items of any price but more so for higher-priced items.
Give to charity
Remind customers (maybe have a sign pinned up) that you will be donating 10% of sales to your local charity - and make sure you follow through. People like to think they are giving to charities even if indirectly. Call the charity before hand to see if they can lend you one of their banners for further credibility.
Sell the unsellable
Combine a hard to sell item with a related desirable item for two-for-the-price-of-one deal. You are effectively giving away the unsellable item but you're using it to help get a higher price for your desirable item. People will think they are getting a bargain and are less likely to bargain you down to a rock bottom price as they may have with the single desirable item alone.
Always pause and think
When a customer offers a price, always pause before answering - even if you've already made up you mind. Look like you are carefully considering their offer. When you answer, they will think there isn't much more room to move on the price.
When someone makes an offer, wince a bit as though it hurts. It makes the shopper think they are near your bottom price. Don't over do it though. Reserve this technique for high priced items as it works best then rather than over a $1 plate.
This is only for advanced players as it requires nerves of steel and an experienced knack of knowing when it will work and not leave you looking stupid. When negotiating over a high-priced item, when the buyer makes an offer, remain silent as you think it over. Then wait. Most people will feel uncomfortable in the silence, and they'll start talking automatically to fill the void. More often than not, they'll respond with a lower price.
Don't let on what your lowest price is
If someone asks "What's the lowest price you will accept for this vase?", don't tell them. Their job is to find your lowest price and your job is to find their highest price. Simply answer their question with "The marked price is my best price" or "What's more important is what's your best price you can offer".
Your goal is for them to have to argue your price down than you trying to argue their price up.
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