Domain Sales Tip: “Negotiable” is a Bad Keyword

When I am in the process of discussing the purchase of a domain name, the best thing a domain owner can say to me is “the price is negotiable.” Without fail, this means I will completely ignore the price he’s given and make my own offer. For domain sales, this (and similar language) is really bad for negotiating.

As a domain seller, if you give a potential buyer a price for your domain name but say the price is “negotiable” or that you will consider an offer, I think that not only are you throwing away your price, but you are opening the door for a much lower offer. Any shrewd business person will detect weakness with those types of terms and you are going to potentially lose money. If they had been willing to pay your $5,000 price, but you then say it’s negotiable, that means you are not firm on your price and you will most likely get less.

Another term I find to be weak is “asking” price. To me, an asking price means it’s what you are hoping to get rather than the firm price. It’s like saying “I am asking for $5,000 but am willing to take less.” I don’t like to use the term “asking price” because I also feel that weakens your position.

Here are a few terms/phrases I believe convey weakness:

  • Negotiable
  • Asking price
  • Will consider offers
  • Best offer accepted
  • Submit your best offer

I understand that many people who use those terms are probably very motivated to sell and perhaps have priced their names higher to reflect the lower offer that is sure to come. However, I think those terms, especially when used in a negotiation with an end user buyer, are signs of weakness and will lead to lower value deals than if they weren’t used.

What other terms and phrases do you think weaken your negotiating postion?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. absolutely spot on, on every thing you say here
    it should be bookmarked
    myself have been guilty of this

    as I say to my daughter for when she’s older and when people may tempt her with bad things, ‘no’ is the strongest word in the english language

    of course in negotiations, a thanks is always good
    when i say ‘no thanks’
    a better offer is almost immediate
    then just the price

    also in past I have been probbaly too professional
    signing off with name, signature, best regards etc

    once they get a name etc and being too chummy can take liberties and get under skin

    i pretty much take each new enquiry at a time, start off short and firm but polite

    if the buyer is really cool then can often chat for longtime via emails on all sorts of banter ebfore deal closes
    cool when that happens

    of course the occasional turd turns up

  2. Good Point on using the language “Our Asking Price” – this does indeed show weakness – not nearly as overtly as the other phrases – but weakness none the less.

  3. You better hope most end users email you first, gives you a huge edge, with all the spammers, like GoldstarDomains, Alex, and his Intrust buddies out there, end users are just throwing everyhing in the trash bin.

    You better have a great domain that get’s their attention, as they get a daily list of alternatives emailed to them daily.

  4. I guess if you use any of those phrases, your asking price better be well higher than what you are really after. I notice that many potential buyers really do have a limit, and any playing around you do to try to get more just doesn’t work. All the tactics of saying ‘No’ and acting not interested only work on very determined buyers with deep pockets – who will keep raising their offers.

  5. Though I agree with where you’re coming from on this, I also think/know that these same terms can be advantageous in negotiating. ex: If I say I’m ‘asking’ (looking for, etc.) $10k for a name, knowing I’ll be very-happy with $6K, getting ‘negotiated’ down to it may make the buyer feel ‘victorious/vindicated’, but that same feeling goes for me too! It depends really on one’s skill at negotiating and knowing your own realistic price expectations. But I agree, as most domainers are not seasoned in negotiating, these terms are ‘beams of weakness’ and should be used sparingly if one wants a maximum return on a sale.

  6. Other terms and phrases that weaken one’s negotiation position (in no particular order):

    1. I need the money to make my rent (or mortgage) payment.

    2. My accountant told me I need another tax loss.

    3. The renewal fees on my domains are killing me (and the related, “My wife’s going to kill me if I charge any more renewal payments on her credit cards.”).

    4. I’m getting out of domains.

    5. Will sell for food. 😉

  7. Agreed these are all good valid points, but always to be offset by the needs of the seller to complete the deal rather than see the buyer walk away.

  8. Agreed with all your good points. That’s why I need to be firm with such end users for key words example in my email: “Premium Domain Name for sale: for just $495.00! Only direct from me, valid for a limited period. Otherwise, it could no longer be available if sold through other top marketplaces to someone else, possibly at a much higher price.”

  9. Okay Elliot, I’m going to take your advice and put a price or perhaps a reserve price on Social Media Predictions dotcom. It’s been a couple weeks of trying the “make an offer” approach and I’ve only gotten one (very disappointing) offer thus far. So it should be interesting to see if offers come in after I put a price point on it.

    • Elliot, I followed your advice and added a wrinkle. Today, I changed the Social Media Predictions dotcom site from one that asks visitors to submit offers to buy to now showing two prices; one for a monthly lease, the other for an annual lease. I also added mention of a “rent to own” option. If you get a minute, please take a look. I’d be very interested in anyone’s feedback, or your experiences with leasing or rent-to-own approaches.

  10. Wrong.
    MANY MANY MANY times i post something like

    80£ Non Negotiable!

    and i get 10s of people asking if i do 60, 75 70 etc and never manage to sell.

    After days of that, I removed it. Put it as 100£ , within 1 hour got 2 offers , £80 and £90.

    People don’t care about whats the price. as long as its “cheaper than listed”. In short they prefer to pay £100 for a item that “was £200” than just pay 80£ without promotions.

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