I've found over the years in business that there's a fine line between a low-ball offer that insults the seller and an offer good enough to create interest from the seller, where he or she will negotiate.  The buyer can always walk away and return later...of course the buyer risks the item being sold to another buyer.  Walking away seems to work with the car dealers  Most will chase you out the door...lol.  From the sellers side, it's worked best for me to keep a poker face and not offend the buyer when a low-ball offer is made.  If the seller creates a negative feeling, the buyer may not return.  

Rumors around indicate that cash is king at the shows.  I've always found that you're better off not to create the negative vibe by making a ridiculous offer to a seller.  If you're a gambler, you can always return to the seller toward the end of the day / show to make the best deal.  it all depends how bad you want the item and what is the demand for the item.  My dad once said that true value is what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller.  Good luck!

Last edited by Capetrainman

Just thought I share an amusing observation I made at a yard sale in my neighborhood a few years back.  A real friendly older couple had died recently and the daughter was running a sale on virtually everything in the home.  The very event seemed very sad to me because I clearly recalled them walking up the street in earlier days just saying hi with a big smile, in spite of their apparent health issues.  We never really got to know them beyond a friendly hello.

Anyhow,  as I was walking through the home during the sale, I observed a man and a woman negotiating with the daughter over a glass paper weight in the form of a frog priced at $5.  The couple was offering $2 for the item and just sounded belligerent as they made the offer, adding a sly remark about value.  I didn't need the paper weight, but I took out my wallet and pulled out a five, handing it to the daughter stating that I'd love the frog at full price.  Wish I had a picture of the expression on the couple's face

The frog is sitting here right now and reminds of a friendly couple from the past and the best five bucks I ever spent 

Capetrainman posted:

Just thought I share an amusing observation I made at a yard sale in my neighborhood a few years back.  A real friendly older couple had died recently and the daughter was running a sale on virtually everything in the home.  The very event seemed very sad to me because I clearly recalled them walking up the street in earlier days just saying hi with a big smile, in spite of their apparent health issues.  We never really got to know them beyond a friendly hello.

Anyhow,  as I was walking through the home during the sale, I observed a man and a woman negotiating with the daughter over a glass paper weight in the form of a frog priced at $5.  The couple was offering $2 for the item and just sounded belligerent as they made the offer, adding a sly remark about value.  I didn't need the paper weight, but I took out my wallet and pulled out a five, handing it to the daughter stating that I'd love the frog at full price.  Wish I had a picture of the expression on the couple's face

The frog is sitting here right now and reminds of a friendly couple from the past and the best five bucks I ever spent 

That's a great story and reminds me of some yard sales we've had in the past.  A few years ago we had a yard sale at our home and some older ladies were looking at some glassware.  I think we had a dollar price on it.  These ladies offered my son, who was at the table a quarter and even then they were trying to get him to throw in more stuff.  Finally my son handed the ladies all the stuff and said, "Here, you need this more than we do".   

At our recent estate sale of my aunt and uncle's stuff, my wife had alot of glassware, china, baskets and related home stuff all set out.  Non of it was junk or damaged, but people wanted it for nothing.  In today's world, no one wants that sort of stuff.  The younger people don't entertain like the older generations.  Antique dealers say they're overloaded with stuff.  

I suspect all these things will sit and collet dust in whatever environment they are in.  Maybe a future generation will rediscover the antiques we can't get rid of today.  

On low ball offers, I usually just say no or give them my best price.

Low ball offers with an attitude usually cause me to remove the item from the table or get a new price tag and raise the price.

Low ball offers on an item with no marked price, cause the price to increase with every comment.  For example:

Buyer; how much for that engine?

Me; $100.00

Buyer: I'll give you $60.00

Me: sorry, I got to get $105.00 for it

Buyer: but you said $100.00

Me: maybe, but I really need to $110.00.

Buyer: are you crazy?

Me:  well they're selling for $155.00 to $175.00 on Ebay.  I think that $115.00 is a good price, plus you get free shipping.

Buyer: you keep raising the price.  There's no way I'm going to buy that engine.

Me: yes. I knew that from the beginning.  

 

 

Me thinks AusSteve has stolen my technique for dealing with tire kickers..........(just kidding).  It IS the same technique that I use, and the results are hilarious!!!

I believe that counter offering is a fair practice, but low balling gets you what you asked for......indifference for a sale!

I don’t really like to negotiate. I’m not that great at starting a conversation, so I USUALLY buy, or don’t buy based on the price. What makes it easy is a sign that reads “make an offer, or willing to negotiate”. Then if your price is just a bit over what I’ll pay, I might talk to you. 

My favorite negotiation was at Nicholas Smith booth in the orange hall a couple yrs ago.  There was a Lionel SP black widow b-unit for I think $140 written on a yellow post it note.  There was only one piece there.  It was boxed so I was reading the label and looking it up on the net trying to decide if it would look ok and did I really need it.  I think it had railsounds,etc.  I had a postwar F3 that someone beautifully painted SP black widow but kind of a matte finish.

A Nicholas Smith employee walked over and took a magic marker and crossed out the price and put $120.00.  He looked at me and said "that's why these pens are called magic markers.  They have magic in them".   I said "well I don't have the other matching pieces, but if it gets down to $100.00, I would have to buy it".  

He took the marker and made the price $100.00.  I said that is a magic marker.  We both laughed.  I picked it up and walked over to pay.

I read AusSteves' experience and I will say, they are nice folks, who will take a counter offer in stride and "dicker with you".

I bought the CN Coal Train a few years ago, happened to also be at York in the Orange Hall........we dickered and we BOTH went away smiling.

And having C A S H , not a card made all the difference. Mr Muffin treats folks the same way.....

If an item I want is over $50 I've had good luck offering the seller 70% of asking price. It's not crazy low and gets a counter offer, then we can negotiate a bit and meet in the middle. If not I move on. 

If you're selling expect people to offer lower than your sales price. Just say no if you don't want to sell it for that price. Easy. 

I haven't bought anything expensive but if something is marked 12 dollars I'll ask for ten or if it's ten I'll ask for 8. These are mostly things in the bottom bins where the guy just wants to get rid of them, so we're both happy! I have asked-will you take 8 for this? and I have said, it's nice but there's rust/whatever/it's cracked here...and they most always say sure.  A couple times I was "examining" a cheap boxcar or whatever and the guy would come over and say- I can give you $XX for that. 

I never price an item at the lowest price I would take.  I'm always willing to give 10 %, often 20 %.

On the buy side, I'll say something like "that's a good looking car, but I really don't want to spend more than $x".  By making it impersonal hat way, hurt feelings are easily avoided.

On the sell side, I'm often known to say " I know I can get more if I wait for the price on eBay.  Some people are still learning what is realistic.

Actually I do most of my buying and selling through eBay.  Pricing there is an art, not a science, but a good head for statistics helps.

 

Occasionally the flow of negotiation goes the other way.  Here are two examples -- I don't remember the exact prices -- from the SZ files:

    Back when the TCA ED was still sane and Yorks were two day affairs, on a Saturday afternoon a gentleman gave a good hard look at an item I had on my table, which I had priced at $450.   It was not that common, but what really established the price was the condition and the box and its condition.  He offered me $400, and I politely refused, saying that I thought $450 was a realistic price.  We talked some more about related items, and he departed.  But later on the drive home I thought I had been rather foolish -- here was a person who knew something about the model and APPRECIATED it;  it would have found a nice new home, and I had quibbled over the $50.  So I hoped I would see him at the next York, and I did -- early on Friday he appeared and said something like "I thought about it all summer and hoped you'd still have it -- here's the $450".  I said it had bothered me too, and the price for him was $400.   He was actually reluctant to take the lower price, but I think he finally did -- or maybe we comprised at $425.   Anyway, we were both happier, and that is what really counted, not the $50.

     More recently I had an item marked for $75;  again, a not often seen quality item.  A  fellow gave it a good looking over, while I explained its features.  He was certainly interested in it, and stopped by my table a second time to look at it.  While he was there another person offered $60 for it, to which I politely declined but said I'd take $70.   The third time the fellow stopped by he bought it, and as I was counting the bills I said "You've paid me $75 -- didn't you hear me say I'd take $70 ?  Here's $5 back"  He refused the change and said, "Yes, I did -- but I WANTED to pay you the full amount ".

SZ

  

Old European saying -  Gentlemen make gentlemen pay a fair price. How you determine the fair price is the topic of this discussion.  John in Lansing, ILL

Last edited by rattler21

I often reply with "Well, how about if I PAY you $2 to take it?" They get the point. And often pay my asking price after we share a couple laughs about haggling. I don't sell anymore except when price doesn't matter to me and I just want it GONE. And in those cases, I often find it easier to donate to the club and let them get a few bucks for it.

Don

 

At the last show I put a like new MTH Premier reefer with box on my table with a price tag of $20. It was a good deal I thought and I priced it low to get rid of it.

Some guy kept coming by and looking at it and saying he should buy it. He kept coming over, inspecting the car and saying that he should buy it, but did not buy the car. After at least two times of this, I made a new price sticker after he left - $30. The next time he came back, he bought it with no haggling. Funny.

Last edited by RoyBoy

For those of you who fail to price an item when you are selling it do not think that I will price it to benefit you! I like me! For a person to get upset over negotiating a price is just childish. Get over yourself! Realize this is part of the secondary market.  

Many times these items are train show professionals and are in a less reasonable condition from the previous 10 shows. I would also like to point out that these items often come from people selling collections for pennies on the dollar so they do have negotiation room.

Remember ladies and gents....price is what you pay....value is what you get!

To this saying (attributed to Warren Buffett)....let me add...do your homework BEFORE you get enamored over the glitzy desirable item.  Lesson learned from Mrs. Red Jimmy!

I have a few tips and anecdotes  I can share...I usually attend shows as a seller, but set up next to a buddy so we can shop as well, with one watching the others table(s).

I spent 31 years selling TO car dealers so, yes, I learned a few things about negotiating.  Dealers may think they are in the train business.  We're not.  We're in the people business, and need to treat buyers the way we would like to be treated on that side of the table. 

First, I always price things with 10% wiggle room, so my prices are fair to start with.  When somebody picks up a $10 item and asks if I can do any better, I make a point of saying, Thanks, $20 would do better for me, I appreciate it.  Then I laugh, and ask them what they have in mind.  When I get lowball offers I refuse them and say thanks.  I then throw the item in a tote so when that person returns near the end of the show looking for it  I smile and tell them, Oh, that sold...I got full price, too.  Maybe next time they'll think twice.

Somebody asked me once if I did volume discounts, and I said Sure.  They chose four  $1.00 junk box items and asked me if I'd take $2.00.  I said, No thanks, but thanks for stopping by, effectively telling them not to bother returning.  Sometimes personal satisfaction is as good as a sale.  I always have boxes of $1.00 and $2.00 items I'll say, No I can't do better on that, but I can throw in 2, 3, 4 (junk box) items, whatever.  Not only do I hold the line on price,  but I also go home with a few less items, which is always the goal.

Regarding eBay, there are fees and commissions to eBay and Paypal.   Regardless of where you sell, there are costs involved.  Also, sellers love to mention eBay prices, and I always ask if they are looking at current listings, completed listings, or  sold completed listings.  Anybody can ask whatever they want, but the best price guide is seeing what things actually SOLD for.

Last thought for now.  If I'm a vendor and I see something I like on another table, I ask the seller to put it aside, ask them if they swap, and invite them to come see my stock.  We end up trading 9 of 10 times. 

The goals are to have some fun, make a few bucks, and go home with less or different stuff.  Happy Holidays!

I almost always negotiate on purchases at train shows and of course garage sales.

My MO is to buy used, or distressed trains, accessories or what ever.  I have only bought one new engine and maybe a couple of new cars in 40 years.  I love to hit the junk boxes usually under the tables or on the floor.  I have bought engines missing wheels, wheel gears, missing a corner of the cab etc.  Things I can fix or patch up. 

I am not into new and shinny, in boxes, or latest as I like post war O gauge.  I get most at a low fair price for the condition and will usually ask for a price lower than marked.  Like many others, I do not have to have any train or train item.  There is always another train show or deal on eBay or one I can maybe build.

Charlie

Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie
aussteve posted:

My favorite negotiation was at Nicholas Smith booth in the orange hall a couple yrs ago.  There was a Lionel SP black widow b-unit for I think $140 written on a yellow post it note.  There was only one piece there.  It was boxed so I was reading the label and looking it up on the net trying to decide if it would look ok and did I really need it.  I think it had railsounds,etc.  I had a postwar F3 that someone beautifully painted SP black widow but kind of a matte finish.

A Nicholas Smith employee walked over and took a magic marker and crossed out the price and put $120.00.  He looked at me and said "that's why these pens are called magic markers.  They have magic in them".   I said "well I don't have the other matching pieces, but if it gets down to $100.00, I would have to buy it".  

He took the marker and made the price $100.00.  I said that is a magic marker.  We both laughed.  I picked it up and walked over to pay.

So it's OK for you to make an offer for $40 below the initial asking price, but it's not OK for someone else to do the same?

Matt_GNo27 posted:
aussteve posted:

My favorite negotiation was at Nicholas Smith booth in the orange hall a couple yrs ago.  There was a Lionel SP black widow b-unit for I think $140 written on a yellow post it note.  There was only one piece there.  It was boxed so I was reading the label and looking it up on the net trying to decide if it would look ok and did I really need it.  I think it had railsounds,etc.  I had a postwar F3 that someone beautifully painted SP black widow but kind of a matte finish.

A Nicholas Smith employee walked over and took a magic marker and crossed out the price and put $120.00.  He looked at me and said "that's why these pens are called magic markers.  They have magic in them".   I said "well I don't have the other matching pieces, but if it gets down to $100.00, I would have to buy it".  

He took the marker and made the price $100.00.  I said that is a magic marker.  We both laughed.  I picked it up and walked over to pay.

So it's OK for you to make an offer for $40 below the initial asking price, but it's not OK for someone else to do the same?

Matt, I don't get your statement.  I read it twice and it sounds like Austere didn't make any offer, the employee saw his interest and Steve simply saw an opportunity to take it one step further.   

As a seller (and this is across the board, not train specific) I usually try to price what I’ve got at ~25% below what peak retail (right person, right day, highest price) would be. Rare are the occasions I have anything more than a week when I do that. 

I price close to the peak that I expect and wait.  The wait could be a few weeks or several months.  Doesn't matter - higher price = more money for me.  A few weeks ago I sold a $20 part after five months.

Dan Padova posted:
Matt_GNo27 posted:
aussteve posted:

My favorite negotiation was at Nicholas Smith booth in the orange hall a couple yrs ago.  There was a Lionel SP black widow b-unit for I think $140 written on a yellow post it note.  There was only one piece there.  It was boxed so I was reading the label and looking it up on the net trying to decide if it would look ok and did I really need it.  I think it had railsounds,etc.  I had a postwar F3 that someone beautifully painted SP black widow but kind of a matte finish.

A Nicholas Smith employee walked over and took a magic marker and crossed out the price and put $120.00.  He looked at me and said "that's why these pens are called magic markers.  They have magic in them".   I said "well I don't have the other matching pieces, but if it gets down to $100.00, I would have to buy it".  

He took the marker and made the price $100.00.  I said that is a magic marker.  We both laughed.  I picked it up and walked over to pay.

So it's OK for you to make an offer for $40 below the initial asking price, but it's not OK for someone else to do the same?

Matt, I don't get your statement.  I read it twice and it sounds like Austere didn't make any offer, the employee saw his interest and Steve simply saw an opportunity to take it one step further.   

Dan, you are correct.  I was looking the engine up on my phone when the Nicholas Smith employee walked up and marked the item down $20.00.  Neither of us had said a word.  Then he made the joke about the magic marker.  According to the internet, his engine had a typical Lionel shiny finish.  And mine was a dull matte finish

20191203_221413

20191204_184440

I was going to use some willpower and pass it up.  I  didn't make him an offer or a counter offer on the engine.  I just said if the marker has enough magic to make that price $100.00,  I would probably have to buy it.   He didn't say a word and crossed out the 120 and made it 100.00.

I said okay and paid Chris' wife cash at the register.

There was really not much of a negotiation.   He made a joke and I made a joke.  He laughed and I laughed.

After all,  they are just toys.  (BTW, it's never been out of the box.)

Attachments

Images (2)
Last edited by aussteve

As I recall, TM Books and Video had a video segment many years ago about a Canadian dentist ("Dr. Mint") who claimed to have the smallest and most valuable Lionel collection...stuff like the 700e scale Hudson new in a sealed box. When asked how he found the ultra rare NIB pieces he replied something like "Easy, just offer them more money than what they are asking and they will find you".

TJ

actually heard the same drop it on the floor and smash it story about a corvette tail light,

guessing this is another collecting myth 

Immaturity and loss of emotional control sometimes raises its ugly head. 😐 Smashing anything to make a statement shows a clear lack of stability, and I for one would never deal with such an individual.

Last edited by Tinplate Art
Tinplate Art posted:

Old addage: "Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it."

Not to disagree, but I have my original Lionel set I got for Xmas when I was 5.  It might fetch $50 at a train show,but I wouldn't sell it for $1000.   So, what it's worth depends on who you ask.

Two Beers, Three Rails posted:
Tinplate Art posted:

Old addage: "Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it."

Not to disagree, but I have my original Lionel set I got for Xmas when I was 5.  It might fetch $50 at a train show,but I wouldn't sell it for $1000.   So, what it's worth depends on who you ask.

I think that's pretty much what Art said

mlaughlinnyc posted:

I price close to the peak that I expect and wait.  The wait could be a few weeks or several months.  Doesn't matter - higher price = more money for me.  A few weeks ago I sold a $20 part after five months.

Do you set up in the Silver hall, or Blue?  

Two Beers, Three Rails posted:

I have a few tips and anecdotes  I can share...I usually attend shows as a seller, but set up next to a buddy so we can shop as well, with one watching the others table(s).

I spent 31 years selling TO car dealers so, yes, I learned a few things about negotiating.  Dealers may think they are in the train business.  We're not.  We're in the people business, and need to treat buyers the way we would like to be treated on that side of the table. 

First, I always price things with 10% wiggle room, so my prices are fair to start with.  When somebody picks up a $10 item and asks if I can do any better, I make a point of saying, Thanks, $20 would do better for me, I appreciate it.  Then I laugh, and ask them what they have in mind.  When I get lowball offers I refuse them and say thanks.  I then throw the item in a tote so when that person returns near the end of the show looking for it  I smile and tell them, Oh, that sold...I got full price, too.  Maybe next time they'll think twice.

Somebody asked me once if I did volume discounts, and I said Sure.  They chose four  $1.00 junk box items and asked me if I'd take $2.00.  I said, No thanks, but thanks for stopping by, effectively telling them not to bother returning.  Sometimes personal satisfaction is as good as a sale.  I always have boxes of $1.00 and $2.00 items I'll say, No I can't do better on that, but I can throw in 2, 3, 4 (junk box) items, whatever.  Not only do I hold the line on price,  but I also go home with a few less items, which is always the goal.

Regarding eBay, there are fees and commissions to eBay and Paypal.   Regardless of where you sell, there are costs involved.  Also, sellers love to mention eBay prices, and I always ask if they are looking at current listings, completed listings, or  sold completed listings.  Anybody can ask whatever they want, but the best price guide is seeing what things actually SOLD for.

Last thought for now.  If I'm a vendor and I see something I like on another table, I ask the seller to put it aside, ask them if they swap, and invite them to come see my stock.  We end up trading 9 of 10 times. 

The goals are to have some fun, make a few bucks, and go home with less or different stuff.  Happy Holidays!

You would not believe how many times I have been to a show.And see a lot of items with no price tag.What I do is come back at the end of the show.Some people do not want to take all that stuff back home with them.But here the thing thou if its a boxcar offer around $10.00 to $25.00.This way this shows that you are not trying to insult the seller.Some will work with you on this.MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!

aussteve posted:

............

Buyer; how much for that engine?

Me; $100.00

Buyer: I'll give you $60.00

Me: sorry, I got to get $105.00 for it

Buyer: but you said $100.00

Me: maybe, but I really need to $110.00.

Buyer: are you crazy?

Me:  well they're selling for $155.00 to $175.00 on Ebay.  I think that $115.00 is a good price, plus you get free shipping.

Buyer: you keep raising the price.  There's no way I'm going to buy that engine.

Me: yes. I knew that from the beginning.  

 

 

I have done this on several occasions when selling estate items already priced at 30% of value.  Some folks actually get mean mad frustrated.  One guy even complained to management.  Did not care, did not budge on price, simply relabeled the price sticker.

 

TonkaNut posted:

As I recall, TM Books and Video had a video segment many years ago about a Canadian dentist ("Dr. Mint") who claimed to have the smallest and most valuable Lionel collection...stuff like the 700e scale Hudson new in a sealed box. When asked how he found the ultra rare NIB pieces he replied something like "Easy, just offer them more money than what they are asking and they will find you".

TJ

I remember reading about it in Classic Toy Train magazine I think.  He sold all of his trains and only wanted to collect one of a kind or exceptionally rare items.  If I remember he paid $35,000 for the 700e set.  They went to a hospital and xrayed the box to prove what was inside, the car locations, size, etc.

He had two sets.  The other was a B6 switcher set I think.  It was mint but the set box was no longer sealed.  He said he paid $15,000 for that set.

It's been several years since I read that, but that's what remembered.  There are other rare trains to be sure, but he has two of the rarest commercially available stuff I've ever heard of.

Now I'm wondering if there is any zinc pest those boxes

Interesting thread, reading everyones' views on negotiation. I sell a lot, not because I'm in the business or trying to make a profit, but because I like to try new things and have to sell stuff to finance the purchase. 

Some people say you shouldn't get offended at low-ball offers. I've been offended many times, and usually just ignore the offer. Nothing wrong with making an offer, but my rule of thumb lately is to ask if the price is firm, or if they have room to move. Most sellers won't have an issue with that. 

Often if an item is priced fairly, I won't even bother asking. Just went to a show last weekend and a gentleman had a table full of boxed rolling stock for $15/each. No need to negotiate that! :-)

Although not directly tied to negotiating,  I haven't seen one of the main rules of train shows addressed yet.... if you see something you always wanted and you buy it, a seller two aisles over will have it in better condition for $30 less.  If you take the opposite approach and decide to  peruse all the tables before going back and making offers, your dream item will have been the only one of its kind there and it will be sold by the time you get back to it.  Danged if you do, danged if you don't!

Two Beers, Three Rails posted:

Although not directly tied to negotiating,  I haven't seen one of the main rules of train shows addressed yet.... if you see something you always wanted and you buy it, a seller two aisles over will have it in better condition for $30 less.  If you take the opposite approach and decide to  peruse all the tables before going back and making offers, your dream item will have been the only one of its kind there and it will be sold by the time you get back to it.  Danged if you do, danged if you don't!

Been there, done that.  At Allentown's First Frost meet a seller had bags of O54 tubular track.  Complete circle for $25.00.  he also had some O72 Lionel switch tracks for $20.00/ea.  

My first trip around the hall wasn't completed, so I decided to come back to his table.  When I arrived, he had only one bag of track and another guy was buying the switch tracks.....UG !

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×