Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's make a deal

I hate haggling. I know that some people just enjoy the sport of negotiation but that's exactly what I most dislike about buying a car. Just tell me the price and I'll determine whether it's worth that to me or not.

This is our final week at Crossroads and it's "Make Me An Offer" week. The way that it works is that you gather up the items that you want to purchase and bring them to a desk next to the check-out area. Our consultant, Mr. Lane Hoage, totals up the retail value of your purchase, gives you that total, and you make him an offer. Any reasonable offer is accepted. If your offer is not reasonable, he'll make you a counter-offer. When the deal is done, you simply pay the agreed total. The vast majority of our customers have made reasonable offers but there have been a few exceptions. Two customers this week have made the generous offer of 5% of the already reduced price of a product . . . just 95% off of the sale price! I'll let you guess what the outcome of those negotiations were.

Haggling . . . yuck! The good news is that it's Mr. Hoage doing the haggling and not me. The truth is that the customer is better off under this arrangement. I'm emotionally attached to our inventory and fixtures as though every last dime of their cost came out of my pocket. Customers are getting a fair deal and a better deal from Mr. Hoage than they would have gotten from me. Our objective is to treat customers fairly and to recover as much of our investment as possible. That's why we hired G.A. Wright Sales and with it, Mr. Hoage. We're not looking for a "we win, you lose" outcome but rather a fair "win/win" outcome.

When all is said and done, I hope that Christ United Methodist Church (the owner of Crossroads Books & Gifts) and our customers will find that we met those objectives. If not, maybe we need to haggle over that a bit.

How do you feel about haggling?

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