As with any negotiation, negotiating the price on a used heavy truck takes knowledge, dedication and patience. You can’t expect that a dealer or private owner will meet your price just because you ask, so you need to come up with some compelling reasons for them to lower their price and then carry out your negotiation in a firm but respectful way.
Set Your Price
A negotiation is only successful when both parties walk away happy. Many people get this wrong and end up putting too much or too little money on the table. It’s not about you “beating up” the other party, and you should never leave a negotiation feeling like you’ve been beaten. The purpose of your back and forth is to come up with a price that is acceptable to both parties, so a deal can be made.
To do this, thoroughly evaluate the truck, or fleet of used heavy trucks if you’re considering more than one, before you come up with a price. If at all possible, have a mechanic inspect each and every one of them, so you can really decide how much they are worth to you. Now, you should be thinking about a range. You should know the absolute highest amount you’ll pay in order to get the best deal, and you should also have a reasonable “low price” (something you think is fair, but an extremely good deal).
You should always start by offering the lowest price in your range, but let the other party know why you’re offering that price. Tell him or her that you started with fair market value, and then deducted for the dings, age, interior condition, etc. If you can’t even justify the price, how do you expect the buyer to make sense of it? Take some time and think it through before you make an offer that’s probably absurd. By starting at a number within reason, the other party will know you’re serious and you value his or her time.
Don’t Worry About His Feelings
As long as your offer is fair, don’t worry about hurting the other party’s feelings. He may act like he’s blown away or horribly offended by your low-ball offer, but that’s probably just an act. And if it isn’t an act, you’re probably not going to be able to negotiate with this person anyway. Don’t let someone raise the price with emotion. Let him explain why his used heavy trucks are worth more than you think.
Don’t Worry About the Sticker Price
You’re only getting a good deal on those used heavy trucks if you pay what you think they’re worth. Here’s a secret: what you think they’re worth shouldn’t have anything to do with the price listed on the window. Most people negotiate by imagining a number somewhere between the sticker price and their lowball price. That’s not necessarily the best way to go. What if that middle number is higher than you really wanted to pay? Negotiations aren’t about “meeting in the middle.” Again, they are about getting value. Meeting in the middle isn’t always going to be valuable to you.
Negotiations for anything, used heavy trucks included, can be stressful and time consuming, but never think of them as battles. If you feel like you’re fighting the other person or entering a win-lose situation, you’re doing something wrong or negotiating with the wrong person. Since your wants are aligned (you want a truck and he wants to get rid of a truck), you should be working together to find a way to help both of you walk away smiling.