Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Art of Negotiationing!

A few weeks ago my son and I went out to buy him a new car.  He is going off to college and I like to get them a car that can last them 10 years.  If they can take care of it, by then they should be able to pay cash for their next car as well.  Therefore, they will never have a car payment. 

So before we went out, he looked up the Kelly Blue Book information.  Knowledge is power.  He had narrowed it down to either the Kia Optima or the Nissan Ultima.  After test driving both cars, it was obvious that we would get more car for the money with the Kia. 

Quick note... I generally suggest buying a used car.  New cars lose significant value when you drive them off the lot.  Buy the same car from the previous model year with 10-25,000 miles and save 10-30%!  That is a lot of money!

We asked the salesman for the price.  Here is the first negotiation.  Typically they will begin by asking you how much can you afford in a monthly payment.  Bad start!  Unless you have a Hewlett Packard Calculator, you are not going to be able to calculate/negotiate off of that number.  Start with the full price of the car, out the door.

So that is where we started.  Our sales guy sat down and asked us what we wanted to pay.

First rule of negotiation... the first one to speak loses.

So we said, "Can you please get us your lowest price in that we want to make sure we can really compare to our other choice, the Nissan."  He went out and came back with $32,000. 

We figured that would be his opening offer based upon the price of the car.  My son said, "I cannot afford that, I'm sorry."  The salesman said, "How much can you afford?"  And my son said, "$27,000."  After some discussion, we walked out.

My son received a bunch of emails and calls.

Then we went back in and bought the car for $29,900. 

But of course we had to go through the finance desk to complete the paperwork.  This is the MOST profitable desk at a dealership.  They make a lot of money here.

More negotiations.  Though we did not finance, usually there is a negotiation over the interest rate.  My suggestion, go to your local bank prior to buying the car and get a letter from them quoting the interest rate THEY would give you.  Bring that letter with you to help with the negotiations.

But again, that is not all.  They then want to sell you an extended warranty.  Though they just told you how amazing the car was and how durable.  Now they are telling you all that could go wrong.  Again very profitable.  If you like insurance, buy it.  But negotiate the price of the warranty, the seat protection and all the other things they may want to sell you here.

Then you buy the car. 

I like talking about negotiations around the purchase of a car because it is SUCH a big purchase.  For most of us, buying a car is one of the largest purchases we will make in our lifetimes!  But often we act like we are buying a pair of new shoes!

Three things to consider...

Be friendly--  People like to help nice people.  If you are a jerk the salesman tends to not want to fight for you. 

Be patient-- You have the money.  They desperately want the money.  Don't be desperate for the car.   In fact the longer you wait, usually the better the deal you will make.  There is also a whole science around when to buy.  The dealership is more likely to give you a good deal when things are slow.  Weekends are not the best time.  They get desperate to sell cars at the end of the month, end of the quarter, and end of the year.  That all is in your favor.

And finally, be firm-- Do not be talked out of your opinion.  You likely based that on facts.  They will tell you and in fact show you the invoice of the car.  They have rebates etc that make them whole.  Dealerships don't survive losing money on cars.  Be firm on your price and what you are willing to accept. 

Oh yeah, how about that trade in?  You will get significantly more money from your car if you sell it yourself, obviously.  But that takes time.  How much is your time worth?  The difference in our case was $2,000!  Yeah, I think we have the time!

Most people HATE negotiating.  Those people break every rule and don't buy well.  Good luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do events build a brand?

Last week we did two events at The London Hotel in West Hollywood.  In the morning we did a Bridal Event.  In the evening we did a Mirabella Launch Event.  They were beautiful.  They were well attended.

Mirabella Bride's Sentimental Bride

Mingling after the Fashion Show
But do events like this build a brand?  Last year, we were in NYC doing a similar thing, launching ourselves to the beauty press.  And it felt GREAT!  However, after a few months and very few notable mentions, we realized that we had to create something more meaningful.

So in the Spring we decided to capture some of the hype from Hunger Games.  We shot a video on how to create the "Girl on Fire" look from the movie.  We had two contests; one for consumers and one for makeup artists and beauty professionals. 

At one point, we have 4,000,000 people see this in a week on Facebook!  We increase our Facebook followers by 50%.  It was a great event for us.

Renee Strauss and friends!
Twin makeup artists with their new Mirabella Bride Kits
But this event was different... we had to get REAL people to attend!  We had to have something interesting enough to make that happen.  Amber found a event planning company, Fresh Events to assist us (and they were GREAT).  Then with Renee Strauss' help, we conducting an amazing Bridal Fashion Show at an amazing venue.  We have these amazing new Bridal Kits and website that really got everyone excited.

Based upon this, I think the morning will have lasting value to our brand.  But if nothing else, I saw the potential of selling Bridal Kits!

Blogger Nikoleta Panteva; Live Love LA
Then the evening event!  We had 100 editors, bloggers, YouTube Guru's, and salons have a chance to have beauty services by one of our Celebrity Makeup Artists!

After they got to sample our services, each person got to sample the product for home use!  We had our Open Sell Units stocked with products!

Then we launched our new short film; think Chanel...  Our film showed how Mirabella is the makeup for life!  It was so beautiful and well done.  It made me proud!

So beautiful a top the London!
But again, did it build the brand?  We had some very important people there that saw Mirabella for the first time.  And we showed off our BEST self.  So hopefully these people will share... and if they did it will make this money well spent!  I will let you know in a few months!