I didn’t do very well at school. Well, I did well enough but my heart wasn’t in it. School for me was a bit boring and the lessons felt a bit irrelevant. They also never, ever, ever served afternoon tea.
I was intrigued this week to be invited along to the webuyanycar Negotiation Academy. Like any good schoolgirl I arrived with a brand new notebook and a selection of pens (though regrettably no pencil case with “I heart Robbie Williams” etched on it in blue biro).
The Negotiation Academy was a 90 minute masterclass in the very swish Great John Street Hotel in Manchester. With a delicious afternoon tea thrown in to soften the educational blow, I sat down and was taken on a whistle-stop tour of all things negotiation, not hostage negotiation, but haggling with retailers negotiation.
We were lucky enough to be treated to some words of wisdom from experts who really were experts and seriously knew their stuff! I already “knew” Dr Sandi Mann, we both write for the same magazine, and whilst we’ve never met we have nattered online a few times. She’s brilliant, so engaging, interesting and was the perfect person to kick off the afternoon.
Sandi is a specialist in social psychology and ran through a host of top tips for negotiating with retailers including playing good cop/bad cop, using body language to your advantage and my favourite tip, just ask, if you do it with enough (polite) confidence, you might just get away with it.
Following Sandi was Tarlok Teji, a Retail Expert and Visiting Teaching Fellow at Manchester Business School who, with over 30 years’ in industry revealed the sales tricks and treats used by retailers. Including getting your timing right, retailers usually have monthly targets, go shopping at the end of the month and they’re more likely to offer a discount to bag that sale! Tarlok packed a heap of really useful information into just ten short minutes.
Completing the indoor section of the whistle-stop negotiation tour was Martin Chimes. Martin is an independent personal financial advisor and in his ten minutes on the hot spot gave some fab straight-forward sensible advice such as, set a realistic budget that anticipates future costs, NEVER reveal your budget to the retailer, do your homework before leaving home and when it comes to finance for big ticket items such as cars research all the options available, don’t just go for the finance plan available from the retailer, you could save £££s!
We then bundled ourselves up against the freezing weather outside to spend a bit of time with the lovely Richard Evans who is Head of Technical Services at webuyanycar.com. Richard has been a mechanic for 31 years and there is literally nothing he doesn’t know about cars. Nothing!
Richard showed us how to inspect the panels on the car to see if they’d been replaced by looking at the colour of them, as well as checking out the bolts on the inside of the doors which could indicate that it’s been in an accident or been modified in some way. He gave a raft of top tips including checking no dashboard lights are illuminated when you run the engine and double checking that the mileage stacks up by visiting www.gov.uk/check-mot-history-vehicle brilliant tip that last one!
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Negotiation Academy, given a scrummy afternoon tea and my travel and childcare expenses were covered.