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When is a Great Deal not a Great Deal?

Published: Jun 13 , 2019
Author: Sam Macbeth

Just recently my Dad passed away. I’ll spare you details, suffice to say anyone who has been in the same situation will know the difficulties this brings.

As the last person of my direct family, I inherited the duty of being the Executor of my Mother’s and Father’s will. For those of you who have experienced this, you’ll know that as well as the paperwork, there are numerous trips to the tip and bags (and bags) of charity shop donations to make. There is also the potentially heart-wrenching issue of which ‘stuff’ to keep and which to sell.

My Mum and Dad lived on the Isle of Wight, some 100 miles away from my own home. So, my family and I drove down to pay our final respects and set about undertaking some of the unpleasant tasks mentioned above.

For some time, I had been debating with myself what do with his car, a 2008 Skoda Roomster. It was of no interest to me or my family, so I decided to sell it. Having experienced the pain of selling a car privately a few years ago, I decided to speak to the ‘we like to purchase almost any vehicle’ company. The market leader did not have an office locally, so I had to visit an Isle of Wight ‘variant’.

Before going in, I did my research, the guide was suggesting £2,200 I thought my limit should be £2,000 – it had recently been given a full service.

After they inspected the car, I was told that there were disc brakes to change and a new handbrake cable required. After a combination of persuasion and questioning on my part, I established the highest price they would offer was £1,900. My immediate reaction was to walk away.

At that moment I looked over at my kids getting bored and unruly, ‘dabbing’ to the showroom music, I realized with horror that if I continued with this course of action, either I’d end up doing this all over again (and possibly again) or dealing with lots of inane questions and tactics from an army of ‘wide boys’ (or girls) on social media selling sites. Added to this there were the logistical issues that my Dad’s funeral was the day before and that we were leaving the Isle of Wight the following day – the car would still be here, and I’d have to do the deal remotely.

All things considered, I suggested that if the dealer could drive us back to my Dad’s house, then I would agree at the price stated.

The point is, a ‘Great’ deal is only a great deal if it successfully addresses the real priorities. Get your priorities right and establish their respective parameters. Pain and difficulty have a value – which was much more than £100 for me in this case.

My suggestion is that when you are preparing for your negotiations in future, sit down and think about the real headline issues – the things that will really make or break the deal, be they tangible (financial, time etc.) or more intangible (reputation, risk etc.), what are you honestly prepared to accept, if, push comes to shove.

Onwards and upwards.


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Sam Macbeth

About the author:

Sam Macbeth
As a Senior Consultant I advise clients on our training and consultancy and deliver our negotiating programmes. Before joining Scotwork, I was a Regional Manager with a former subsidiary of BP – developing and supplying environmental products and services within Europe, Asia and Russia.

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