There are a number ways to get benefits from suppliers other than direct discounts.
I learnt this lesson after spending an average of 50 hours a week talking to equipment manufacturers and retailers who deal in medical supplies. Initially, I was focused on getting the best deal through a direct reduction of the quoted price. Most suppliers figure this into the equation when they give you the first quote, so to an extent I was able to get what I wanted. However, the final pricing didn't really give me a cost advantage over my competitors. That's when I sat down with my techie and asked him how he handled such situations. Suffice to say we had a long discussion over dinner and my daughter's bath time and this is what I came away with:
- Focus on optimizing your overall cost rather than getting a flat-out discount. An ideal example would be a upgrade in the product chosen at the cost of the original product. - If you are going in for a desktop computer you could ask for a newer version of the Windows operating system at the original price quoted. - Obviously, you need to see value in the offer and not just go for the first thing you can get.
- Workout a long term package, focusing on services, instead of a one time benefit on your actual purchase. - When getting your phone system set up, ask for a year's free warranty (over and above what comes with the package) and AMC services at a discounted rate.
- Try to get complimentary products / services free or at a concessional rate, in the place of a price reduction on the main product - Speak to your interior decorator about getting your blinds and carpets for free when she gets your whole interior contract.
In order to ensure that you don't get taken for a ride when you work on these offers, always do your homework. Some points your research could cover are:
- Quotes from at least three suppliers who deal in the same product. The brand can be different, if you can't get dealers who sell the same brand. Ensure that you get the initial price and a price after a couple of rounds of negotiation (just talking on the phone can get you some great deals).
- Speak to a few existing customers and get details on the deals they got.
- Research prices on different qualities, models and accessories for the product. This will help you ask for those upgrades and complimentary products.
Actually, after writing this post I realized that we mummies can use these tips with the little angels. For example "Sweetheart, instead of going to bed after 5 minutes, why don't we snuggle up and read an extra story." So you basically have them where you want them and it's easier to get them to sleep after the last story, instead of starting the get into bed process all over again after 5 minutes. At least I hope things work that way.
Let me know what you think. Do you have any other ideas for me?