When selling guns, remember, everything is negotiable! We’ll get to that in a moment, but first some backstory.
When I was in college more than a decade ago, I was majoring in English. Why English? Well, that’s what everyone asked me at the time. My parents, my friends, my coworkers would all grill me about my major, saying something along the lines of, “What the heck are you going to do with a degree in English? Teach? You want to be a teacher?”
“No, I don’t want to teach,” I’d respond. I wanted to be a writer, but saying so only lead to further inquisition. “Writer? What are you going to write? Like, books? How are you going to make a living doing that?”
To be fair, the question wasn’t without merit. In my blue-collar neighborhood, you either became a cop, a fireman, a construction worker or a bartender. “Writer” just wasn’t an option.
Knowing that my dream of becoming Norman Mailer was a long shot, I decided to hedge my bet. So, in my junior year, I complemented my formal education with something more conventional. I became a salesman. A Realtor to be exact.
What I quickly learned is that everyone is a salesman, even if they don’t know it. See, at the very least, you’re constantly selling yourself to those around you. I mean, what do you think a job interview is? It’s really just a sales pitch. What’s the product? You are.
Recognizing this is a game changer. Because once you know that you are indeed a salesman, you realize the importance of knowing how to sell. I’m not going to delve into the ins and outs of selling here, but I want to touch on one of the cornerstones: negotiation, more specifically the sales maxim that everything is negotiable!
One of the sales managers at the real estate company I worked for was fond of telling us a story of how he walked into a McDonald’s for 38 straight days trying to negotiate the price of a cheeseburger. Each day the manager of the McDonald’s responded to his request for a $0.69 cheeseburger by saying, “I’m sorry, sir, they’re $0.89.” Until finally, on the 38th day, he received his $0.69 cheeseburger. The McDonalds employee relented and sold my sales manager the $0.69 cheeseburger.
The point he was making that even things that you don’t think aren’t negotiable are negotiable. It may take more time and patience and persistence, but everything is negotiable. Even a non-negotiable cheeseburger at McDonald’s.
Of course, the price of a firearm is negotiable. A few weeks ago I wrote an article that pissed a lot of people off. It wasn’t my intention to cause a ruckus. All I wanted to say is that complaining about the MSRP of a firearm is a waste of time because at the end of the day the market determines the price and if you don’t like the market price, that’s a you problem — not a pricing problem with the gun itself.
Six Tips for Negotiating
But now I want to continue this talk and add that just because the market price is set doesn’t mean you can’t get the firearm for less. Simply put, negotiate! With that in mind, I wanted to give you some tips on how to negotiate the best deal possible for a firearm.
1. Don’t Insult the Seller
Don’t come in too low where you offend him or waste his time. If the market value is $600 and you offer him $150, he is going to tell you to hit the bricks and rightfully so. By the same token, unless it’s a really hot commodity, you don’t want to come in too high either. If you offer $590 as your initial bid, what are the chances he’s going to sell it to you for $550? Zero.
2. Look Up Comps!
If you want to buy a Colt Detective Special, see what they’re selling for on GunsAmerica. That’s what I did. Once I had a good range of pricing, I knew what was realistic and what was at the higher end of the spectrum. You can also talk to people who are familiar with gun sales to get an idea of what’s going for what. When negotiating, pointing to convenient comps only bolsters your argument for a lower price point. It tells the seller that (a) you’ve done your homework and (b) your request isn’t unreasonable given the marketplace.
3. Downplay desire
Even if you want it so badly you can taste it, don’t tip your hand. Come in with a poker face. Imply that you can either take it or leave it. In fact, it’s even better if that’s how you actually feel. The best deals I’ve ever scored have been the ones where I was in a position where my urgency for the product was low. Experienced sellers can usually sense when someone is extremely interested and when someone is only mildly interested. When they know you want it, they’re not going to be as flexible on the price.
4. Be Nice
Don’t be a jerk. The idea that playing hardball while negotiating is nonsense. It’s not a coincidence that everyone who meets president Trump comments about how he is so nice in person, and that he looks you in the eye and really listens to what you’re saying. As that old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
5. Don’t Be Gun Shy
If it is a good deal grab it before someone else does. I remember showing houses to this young couple. We found the perfect house for them. It had everything they wanted. During the negotiations we got stuck at a point where we were only negotiating over a tiny percentage of the final bid. While we waited for the seller to respond to that final counter, someone swooped in and purchased the house at full listing price. My buyers were crushed. They had a good deal in their lap and they pushed a little too hard. Thankfully guns are not like houses. They’re much easier to sell. On that note, I may not have gotten the best deal on my Colt, but I got a pretty good deal. And I’m happy.
6. Shop Locally, Build Relationships
Friendly local gun stores are the backbone of the firearms industry. Do they always have the best prices? No. But more often than not, you’ll consistently get good deals if you make friends and frequent the establishment. Competent store employees and owners know who the regulars are and will go the extra mile to make sure their customers are happy. That may come in the form of special pricing, early looks at new products, discounts on ammo, quality advice, and exceptional customer service. So, shop locally. Plus I always feel better about giving my hard earned money to someone in my community as opposed to a chain store or corporation. I also find it easier to negotiate with those I’ve done business with in the past. The reason is obvious, the more you purchase from them, the more leverage you have in the negotiation.
These are my tips for negotiating the best deal. Don’t insult the seller, do your homework on pricing, downplay desire, be friendly, be willing to pull the trigger when it’s time and shop locally when possible. By doing all of this you greatly increase your chances of scoring a solid deal. Good luck and happy hunting!
Shop GunsAmerica for the best deals on firearms. Don’t forget to negotiate!