The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Fleet Product Knowledge Important in Negotiation

March 26, 2002

Negotiation means working side-by-side to achieve mutually beneficial solutions. That is according to John Patrick Dolan, who gave a presentation titled “Negotiate Like the Pros” at a meeting of the National Association’s (NAFA) Pacific Southwest Chapter, which took place March 13, 2002 in Cerritos. Interviews with three fleet managers in attendance at the meeting show that product knowledge is important to negotiating the best deals. David Edenhofer, corporate fleet manager for Farmers Insurance Group in Los Angeles, said he negotiates with auto manufacturers and dealers to get the best price. “You have to know how the vehicle is priced, what’s included on the invoice, what the average courtesy delivery fees are, and you have to allow them enough profit so each party wins,” he said. Walter Burnett, building and vehicle maintenance superintendent for the city of Beverly Hills, CA, said he agreed with the part of Dolan’s presentation that dealt with motivation in which he said you have to find out what motivates others. “That’s a good technique to use, especially with subordinate employees,” Burnett said. “You have to find out what’s going to make them do what you want them to do but for their own reasons. I try to fit jobs to people rather than people to jobs and try to find out what an employee’s strengths are and play to those.” Leonie Von Halle, fleet manager for Computer Sciences Corp. in El Segundo, CA, said she negotiates prices with dealers for out-of-stock purchases but said negotiation plays a role in negotiating with staff, and also in your personal life. “It’s just knowing what something is worth and making them believe they got a good deal, too,” she said.
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