Artful Negotiation
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Mark Twain

Artful Negotiation
"Can you do any better?"

The first time I heard those words I was seventeen and didn't fully appreciate the power behind that simple question. I was at an antique car swap meet at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena with my dad's friend Dick Messick. Dick was a genius, and what he didn't know about old cars wasn't worth knowing. We were standing in front of several piles of random junk, covering a space of about twenty-five square feet. All I saw was rust and bent metal.

Dick had initially asked the owner of this menagerie, "What do ya got to get for that?" pointing at a tired looking steering wheel peeking out from under one of the many piles of dirty parts. The owner replied, "Fifteen dollars."

Dick paused and then asked, "Can you do any better?" The pile owner paused too, then said, "Twelve dollars."

Dick paid him, picked up the steering wheel, and we walked on. A total of seventeen words had been spoken. Out of curiosity, I asked Dick what kind of steering wheel it was, already certain that he knew. He replied, "32 Duesenberg Phaeton."

"What's it worth?" I asked.

"About twelve thousand dollars." said Dick.

I learned that day to let seller name his price and be prepared to walk away. Since then, I have used those two phrases, in succession, hundreds of times in nearly any situation in which the price is negotiable.

Try it and be sure to pause in between the first and second sentence. You will be amazed at the results.
- Hank Frazee, Author of  Referral Upgrade   and  Before We Say "Goodnight"