A professional haggler's tips for sealing a great deal

Sunday, January 31, 2010; B05

Allan Stark loves making deals. He loves it so much that after selling his Baltimore office-supply company, Stark Office Supply, he moved to Florida in 1989 and started Negotiate4U, his haggling services firm. He haggles on everything from new cars to cellphone bills to airplanes (yes, not just tickets, but aircraft). He gave me five tips for negotiating successfully.

-- Michael S. Rosenwald

1. Know your negotiating partner. Be technical if she is knowledgeable. Be a good 'ol boy if he is the same.

2. Know the product or service you're trying to buy. Negotiating skills are worthless if you don't fully understand what you are negotiating.

3. Know the value of humor. The future of humankind is probably not at stake.

4. Know the value of being nice and empathetic. It will come back to you many times over.

5. Know when to stop. Enough is enough. Sometimes more gets you less.

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