Buying and selling is both an art and a science. In face-to-face buying or selling, the individual more adept at both artistry and science, including psychology and mathematics, often gets the best of the bargain. To make sure you've got the financial edge when and if you find yourself either as a seller or buyer in an eyeball-to-eyeball transaction, here are a dozen tips, six for either side of the deal. (For some sales techniques that retailers use, read 2 Key Tactics Retailers Use To Increase Sales.)

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Tips For the Seller
Price Competitively
Before deciding on prices for what you're selling, tour some garage sales or browse through the classified adds or Craigslist to see how much sellers are asking for similar items. Pricing below the competition will give you an edge.

Ask the Potential Buyer to Make the First Offer
When the buyer makes the first price offer, you may sometimes be surprised to be offered more than you expected. If the buyer's price offer is too low, don't laugh or scoff.

Be respectful. Explain to the buyer why you're charging more for the item. Be prepared to offer good reasons - mention its original price, show the buyer that its in good or excellent condition, offer a money back guarantee (with a time limit) if the buyer is not satisfied with the purchase.

Be Prepared to Negotiate
Even if you state a price for what you're selling, and say that the price is firm - also a good strategy, by the way - be prepared to negotiate the price. If you can get 80 to 90% of your first asking price, it may be wise to take the deal, rather than lose it. Another effective strategy is to ask for more than you expect and then allow your price to be negotiated downward which creates the impression in the buyer that he or she is getting a good deal.

Be Sure the Items For Sale Are Clean And In Good Condition
Dirty and or damaged goods don't sell briskly. Or if they do sell, they go for very low prices.

Have a Companion And Your Cell Phone With You
If you're meeting strangers face-to-face for the first time, for safety purposes, it's prudent to bring someone with you, and to bring your cell phone as well. There have been many reports of robberies and assaults in face-to-face buy-sell situations between strangers.

Cash Only, Unless You're Set Up to Take Credit Cards
When dealing with strangers, it's wise to take cash only for purchases. If you have the ability to take credit cards, make sure the account is live and not maxed-out before concluding the transactions. Taking checks from strangers is not wise, but is acceptable if you know your customer. Have plenty of coins and currency handy also, so you can change large denomination bills.

Tips For the Buyer
Make the First Offer
Some of the tips offered above, may be reversed for the buyer. For example, when the buyer makes the first offer, and it's relatively lower than what the seller expects, the seller is thrown off balance psychologically and may not negotiate the price upward toward the expected sale price, if the seller knows the buyer is not willing to pay much more than what was originally offered.

Do Price Research Before Buying
Research ads in print and online and at garage sales to see what similar items are selling for. Bring documentation with you to the sale to show to the seller, to persuade him or her to compete against the price offered by other sellers

Examine Everything for Damage or Flaws
Damaged goods may usually be bought for a price lower than what the seller asks. Some damage may be hidden, or not immediately apparent, so see if the item works. If it's electronic, plug it in or use a battery to see if it functions properly. Even if damaged and not functioning properly, the object may be worth buying if it can be affordably repaired.

Ask the Seller If You Can Return the Item If It Doesn't Work Properly
Test the item first, as mentioned above. Even if it works at the time of the sale, it may fail the next time you try to use it. Ask the seller if you can return it for what you paid if the product doesn't function within 30 days of purchase. The seller may not agree to that guarantee, but it's worth asking. If the seller does agree, try to get the agreement in writing. A simple note to that effect will do, which may be enforceable in a small claims court.

If You Can't Afford a Full Initial Payment Ask for Terms
Assume you find something you want, you agree on price, but can't afford the full price in a single payment, ask the seller if you can pay it off. Ask, for example, if you can make three equal payments, one every month for the next three months. If the amount owed is not too substantial, sellers will often agree to that arrangement rather than lose a sale. And don't try to pay for anything with large denomination bills. The seller may not have enough cash on hand to give you change.

Have a Companion and Your Cellphone With You
This goes for the buyer as well as the seller. As mentioned above, if you're meeting strangers face-to-face for the first time, for safety purposes, it's prudent to bring someone with you, and to bring your cell phone as well. There have been many reports of robberies and assaults in face-to-face buy-sell situations between strangers.

The Bottom Line
Take the time to do research to ensure you are receiving the best as both a buyer and seller. Generally those who do the most research are those who score the best deals. (For some other ideas on how you ca score a deal, check out 5 Awesome Deals That Could Save You Money!)Sources