The Modern Art of Negotiation

As a bonafide grown-up (or so I’m told), there are lots of unexpected adult things I have to deal with. When I was a kid I dreamt of my mature years being lots of things: exotic, glamorous, fast-paced (and never so blimmin’ tired), but being a grown-up is quite different to how I anticipated.

For example, I never daydreamed of career woes, child worries, council tax or sleep deprivation, didn’t spend hours lusting after the amount of time I’d spend with a hoover or bleached cloth in-hand, had no consideration to the amount of work I’d have to put in to both pay the bills and buy the dresses I always knew I wanted: sometimes being a grown-up really can feel never-ending.

“The action of negotiation is one of those situations, too. It can be embarrassing and stressful to find yourself in this circumstance of either asking for or handing over money”

One of the things I never expected to encounter as an adult of the age of almost-33 is the low-level anxiety I have about situations I am uncomfortable in, situations I wouldn’t have thought twice about as a confident kid or teenager. Skiing with my own children last year was a great example; having spent much of my 13th and 14th year throwing myself down mountains with reckless abandon, I was surprised to find myself so aware of the danger behind it as a 30-something. At every twist and turn I saw a tumble down a cliff, a bashed head, a broken leg. I didn’t have those worries back in the year 2000!

The Art of Negotiation With Specialist Advice From Gumtree.com

The action of negotiation is one of those situations, too. There may be no potential broken limbs (you’d hope) but it can be embarrassing and stressful to find yourself in this circumstance of either asking for or handing over money; I’m not sure if it’s an adult thing or a stiff upper lip British thing, but I certainly feel negotiating with someone I don’t know well really difficult. It’s tough enough trying to negotiate a bedtime with a 6 and an 8-year-old!

There are no situations where this uncertainty presents itself more obviously than during the buying and selling process of a classifieds website, like Gumtree.

Gumtree is the UK’s number one classifieds website and app, and they’ve recognised this nervousness some consumers feel when using their services. And so to help empower their customers to get the most out of the buying and selling platform they are running an initiative to help instil confidence in consumers during this process.

Gumtree realise that all too often people don’t feel comfortable using online marketplaces because they worry it requires too much effort, or they are too nervous about having to negotiate when buying from other people. As a marketplace user myself I totally get this: after my divorce I bought many pieces of furniture from Gumtree (my favourite being the old kitchen table which I stripped and re-painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint), but I was always too unsure to bargain and found the process quite nerve-wracking.

To educate myself in the art of negotiation (and build my confidence!) I went along to Gumtree’s first London workshop in partnership with the How to Academy, The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online. Led by expert negotiator, Gavin Presman, this was a really enlightening evening that taught attendees how to avoid the awkward moments one might experience when buying and selling on online marketplaces such as Gumtree.

art of negotiation art of negotiation

We discussed some of the finer points of the negotiation process, the ones you always wonder about but never really know the answer to: how much small talk should you make when you meet the buyer? Should you count the cash in front of them? Is it OK to take someone with you? How closely should you examine the item you’re purchasing?

I was surprised with how much of the content of the session could be applied not just to the buying/selling process but to every-day life: when flagging complaints as a consumer or dealing with senior work colleagues, for example. I came away feeling more self-assured and composed, knowing that in my next online marketplace experience I will feel empowered to negotiate and interact in a more confident way.

It was really interesting to learn some key facts about the whole buying/selling online experience from our expert, Gavin Presman. For example, did you know that on a scale of confidence us Brits are one of the nationalities most uncomfortable with the negotiation process? Almost on a par with the famously reserved Japanese (in contrast, Americans and Israelis top the confidence league table!). And in addition, when you’re in the process of buying and selling, you are statistically more likely to make a successful sale or purchase the more interaction you have with the other party.

It was a brilliant evening of learning and discovery, with one of the standout quotes being “Chance favours the prepared mind” – applicable to SO many things in life, evidently including online marketplaces!

To increase your own confidence you can download Gumtree’s new guide on the Etiquette of Buying and Selling on Online Marketplaces right here for free, or register for your place on their Etiquette of Buying and Selling workshop with the How to Academy and Gavin Presman, held at the Condé Nast College of Fashion in London on 4th September.

Happy negotiating!

1 Comment
  1. This guide would have been good to have last year when I bought a car online! I’ll definitely register to the course.

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