I got a text from my Nanny on a Thursday. “Can I call you?”
She wasn’t watching my daughter at the moment so my mind went to the next worse thing, is she quitting? I called her. She let me know that she wanted to take me up on my offer to help her negotiate with Toyota on a new lease she wanted to get.
She had an offer of $350/ month for the RAV4 after trading in her vehicle for a 3 year lease at 12,000 miles. She was in the office of the sales manager at her local Toyota store in Livermore, and they were pushing her to sign before, “missing this great deal”. My lease for the same vehicle was way cheaper than that, so I immediately jumped to helping her out. I told her to leave.
Over the next hour I called every Toyota dealership within 100 miles with the same exact no bullshit statement. “I am helping a friend find a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid LE to lease. She wants to buy today and I am calling all of the Toyota dealerships to see the best price that I can get her. She does not care about any of the special perks or the color. I am not going to renegotiate I am simply looking for the best price you can give monthly with all fees and closing costs included.”
The words I used were very important. Let’s break them down:
“She wants to buy today.” She is motivated and time is of the essence.
“I am calling all of the Toyota dealerships to see the best price that I can get her.” I don’t give a shit about the great new model you have coming in or anything else other than price. You better give me your best price because I’m calling all of your competition.
“She does not care about any of the special perks or the color. I am not going to renegotiate I am simply looking for the best price you can give monthly with all fees and closing costs included.” Give me your best rate for the cheapest car that you have. I do not care about anything but price. You better make it the best because I won’t call back if it’s not the best.
Cars salesmen are typically taken aback by this and try to find a way to turn me into a friend. My tone with them is, don’t try any shit with me I’m not fucking around.. but I am a nice guy and if you get me the best price out of all of the other dealerships, you’ll be getting paid today and you will be happy, your boss will be happy, we’ll all be happy.
Notice that I didn’t mention the trade in. The trade in could possibly be valued at different prices by different dealerships and I wanted to make sure I was having them all compete against the same item. I gave them a deadline of 2 hours to give me a call back.
After an hour I had offers from all of the dealerships (or calls that they didn’t have any models right now but they would, and why don’t I just wait!.. no thanks). The best price I found was $275/ month for a Red RAV4! Alright, already saving $2,700!
Now I know we said that we won’t go back and negotiate- but I stretched the truth. My nanny wanted a grey RAV4 so I called back the two dealerships that had grey and let them know the rate I got and at what dealership. I let them know that I liked them better and asked if there was any way they could beat (not match) the rate. They both got back to me with offers and the one offered $260/ month for the grey at my local brach- Toyota Marin. They also matched the highest trade-in value we got and drove the car to her house in Livermore! Through this process my nanny was able to save $3,240.
Steps in Negotiating the Price of any Product/ Service.
1. Learn everything you can about the product/ service. Befriend a couple people that offer it and learn everything there is to learn.
2. Commoditize the product/ service. Realize that there are many around and of course they all have different benefits, but break it down to the bare basics.
3. Create massive competition. Call anyone and everyone that has the commoditized product/ service you’re looking for and figure out any way possible to cut costs and let them know you are simply interested in the cheapest price and you won’t be back to renegotiate.
4. Once you get the cheapest rate then it’s time to go back to the products/ services that you really liked the best and see if they can beat the lowest price that you were offered.
5. You will likely get a far superior product/ service for at least a price match of the cheapest rate.
Other examples that I’ve used this for recently:
1. I saved $13,000- $28,000 on an HVAC system for our house. I was quoted $25,000- $40,000 for a full HVAC system/ install for our house in the Bay Area by 5-6 companies. I ended up buying the units from an online distributor in New Jersey for around $5,000 shipped and delivered and then quoted out the installation from the companies who would do just installations. I used the methods mentioned above and got a very reputable HVAC company to do it for less than my lowest price (which I was quoted by a not so good HVAC company).
2. We kind of love Toyota Rav4 Hybrid’s in our house. It’s the best thing while we save funds to buy a Tesla :). I used this same above approach to buy a new Rav4 for my wife and we saved $4,000 from the quote originally offered.
3. In the Bay Area no-one gets a deal on a new house- especially when we bought 2 years ago. Though I wasn’t able to get the sellers to budge on their price- but believe me- I tried EVERYTHING.. I was able to use a service called Open Listings to get 1.5% back. If you’re buying a house you can negotiate a lower commission from your buying agent as well (or find one that will negotiate).
What other areas can you use this technique for?
Everything in life, in a sense, should be thought about in the above way to make sure you’re getting the most out of life and fully getting the most value.
1. Relationships- if you are dating make sure you’re dating around and using the fact of you dating around (in a nice way) to make your significant others be their best selves while you figure out who your best companion in. This helps you realize what you are looking for as well.
2. Jobs- using this same approach can show you how much you can be making at a company that you would never want to work for. Take that job offer’s salary and see if one of your dream job companies could offer something comparable.
3. Sales- if you are selling anything for work or life this same approach should be used. Then you aren’t as much selling as you are buying.
New partners for your startup- “What can you offer our startup? Why should we use you over your competition?” I use this for my company On Air Parking as we aren’t working with every business we can- we are exclusive and want the best airport parking companies out there!
I think you get the point. If you create some healthy competition for whatever you’re looking for in life you will be pleasantly surprised in the immense value you can obtain for yourself as well as, when applicable, some damn cheap prices!
Feel free to reach out with anything you need on Twitter! What’s that? Oh yes, I am nominated for a Noonies Award here on Hacker Noon, thanks for noticing! If you’d wanted to give me a vote I would forever be indebted and at your service!