Dave Likes Driving in Sam's Car, It’s Not Quite a Jag-u-ar

Published: Jun 02 , 2016
Author: Sam Macbeth


Firstly apologies to the the 1980’s pop group Madness for the title of this blog.

The Sun newspaper reported last week that “David Cameron finally manages to get a good deal – after negotiating a second-hand Nissan Micra for Samantha”. Apparently he drove this off the forecourt from the car dealer in his local constituency in Witney, Oxfordshire – very different from the public office £200K Jaguar which he rides in for work.

Whilst the title could be viewed as a vaguely negative comment on other deals the Prime Minster has done or is involved in, maybe we should not forget that life is not always that simple…

From my very rough approximations on car calculator websites, the £1,500 paid for a ’04 Micra with 93,000 miles does look like a good deal. Whilst the price is going to be important (I think Dave should be able to afford it), if I told you (hypothetically) that the bodywork was really poor – you might have a different opinion about the deal. If I told you (also hypothetically) that Samantha Cameron only wanted a blue Micra, and she needed it that day for a pressing local engagement, maybe the bodywork issue becomes less important and the deal looks a whole lot better.

I also wonder whether the fact that it ‘had to be UK made’ could have hardened the dealer’s scope for discount; or whether allowing the dealer to publicise the deal with newspapers afterwards might have made them more amenable to a good deal for the buyer.

My point simply is this; there are often lots of variables present when we negotiate. Truly understanding what’s important (for us and them) can help to build good deals and create value. Disclosing new information can change people’s perceptions as to what a ‘good deal’ really looks like. We must though consider the relativity of all the important issues irrespective of whether they are short or longer term - a cheap car price today but with an accident tomorrow, where the car was found to be a ‘cut and shut’, could have horrible implications both in terms of health and maybe reputational damage.

Sam Macbeth


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Most people I meet look for ways to achieve better results through negotiations. Using a college exam analogy, they want to move from, lets say, a 70% score to 90%. Negotiations are like an exam. Failure to prepare is preparing for failure! The problem is that negotiations are like an open book exam – lots of pages, lots of things to cover and not sure where to start.

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