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In a tough market, it feels like all negotiation comes down to price and the customer always has the advantage.

But master negotiator Bill Garcia, founder of Table Force, says there are tactics that businesses can employ anytime they are negotiating to get the best deal possible. Garcia shared a taste of his menu of negotiation tactics during presentations at the VSR Business Optimization Summit, held in Philadelphia Oct. 28 to 29.

Garcia says businesses should keep in mind that customers are going to ask every single time, “Can you do better?” Be ready for that, he says. Customers aren’t just going to hear your price and tell you to write up the purchase order.

Rather, when you hear the customer say, “Can you do better?” you should say “Yes, if …” says Garcia, and throw in your own condition. For example, you can give them the 10 percent discount if they also buy the extend warranty.

He recommends that businesses be the first to “drop an anchor” — that means businesses should name the price first, and not let customers come back with their own prices. If they do, you are negotiating up from that low, he says.

“Set the price and terms of the negotiation by quoting a price first,” says Garcia. “Whoever drops the anchor lands closer to their position,” he adds.

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