Negotiating to buy an RV park can seem awkward – it’s not a skill you use every day. That being said, it’s an extremely important skill to have as it can create a ton of value if you get the RV park for less than you would have otherwise. So how can you harvest this skill and make yourself the best negotiator possible in a short amount of time? Here are some suggestions.
First, the strategy of negotiating price
The art of negotiating basically falls into three main concepts:
- Start Low. When you negotiate, the price can only go one direction: up. So you have to start low or the price will get out of hand quickly. If you think the RV park is worth $500,000, you would never make that your initial offer. Instead you’d say “what about $400,000” – just so the seller can feel like he beat you up on the price.
- Appear pained at every increase. The seller will know you’re playing games if you agree to up your price without any pushback. So appear like you are having serious internal conflict with every increase. Say things like “ouch, that’s a lot” and “you’re a tough negotiator”.
- Refuse to go above a certain threshold. You will never be a great negotiator if you do not know when to hold firm. Before you even negotiate, you have to determine the price that you will not exceed and, if you get there, say you quit and stop. This will force the seller to drop down to your price or give up. He who hits that wall first often wins.
- Close the deal. There’s no purpose in negotiating if you don’t get the deal under contract. So don’t think you’re a great negotiator because you did the first three steps and things never went anywhere. Great negotiators walk away with a signed contract.
Second, watching professionals do it
My favorite negotiation shows on TV are American Pickers and Pawn Stars. Each episode has about ten such negotiations and they are always predictable:
AMERICAN PICKERS STAR: “I’ll give you $200 for that 1930s Coca Cola sign”.OWNER: “Give me $500”.
OWNER: “Give me $500”.
AMERICAN PICKERS STAR: “OK, I shouldn’t do it because it’s nuts, but how about $350?.
OWNER: “I’ll split the difference with you and go $425.”
AMERICAN PICKERS STAR: “I can’t do any more than $400 – I’ll barely be able to sell it for that”.
OWNER: “OK, then $400”.
AMERICAN PICKERS STAR: “OK, then let’s shake on the deal”.
Third, getting warmed up in real life
There’s more to life than RV parks that are negotiable. Time to get yourself out to some other venues to practice your negotiating skills. Best spots to do so: farmers markets, antique malls, garage sales and swap meets. Anywhere that people tend to “haggle” over the price. In two weekends of this you can be a real pro (and you may end up bringing home some good vegetables and collectibles).
Fourth, a pep talk for the real thing
Here’s the bottom line. Those that never try to do things never achieve anything. If you have the guts to negotiate an RV park then you are doing something of value and are to be admired, even if that deal does not work out. Here is what Teddy Roosevelt said about the situation:
It is not the critic who counts. ... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly ... who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
Negotiation can seem awkward but – once you’ve mastered the skill it becomes like second nature. These tips will get you going on developing your skill set in negotiating the price of an RV park. Once you’ve perfected it, the sky’s the limit.