Remember, this is YOUR money that you are spending, so if you are smart enough to negociate a better deal, good for you. (Don't worry about the dealer, they'll take care of themselves! If they don't like the offer, they'll refuse it.) I don't think etiquette is really an issue, as this is business.
Typically, you can expect a 10% discount or so, especially when buying an entire system. (However, depending on the dealer, you can sometimes negociate even more. As an example, my friend negociated a higher discount on a set of very high end mono block amps ($20K retail and he got them for $17K out the door.)
One thing to consider is that your standard B&M store has a high overhead, so they have a slimmer margin, versus say a dealer that operates out of their house (such as the one my friend dealt with!).
Now, if the dealer comes to your house to setup the system, and fine tune it, then the discount might nothing, or very little, as they are not only selling you a component, or a system, but providing their time and expertise as well.
My two cents worth.
Always ask. Always. If te dealer knows you want to move on a product, especially if you are ready to pull the trigger on the spot.
"What's your best price if I buy it right now".
That'll work, then feel free to counter with a lower offer.
The art of bargaining seems to be lost on many today.
large purchase, 15% to 20% off list.
In the old days, a full complete system, came with appropriate cables gratis.
I think it's up to you and the dealer in question. A discount is a realistic possibility, and I think a realistic expectation, with the type of money you're spending.
When I was a newbee to the high end, I had the impression that it was not cool to try to barter. After all, these were "high end", nose in the air, lots of attitude types. They didn't barter like the unwashed mass market hucksters. They were above that. Besides, you were expected to pay more, that's what paid for the "service" you got from them.
Fortunately in those days, I couldn't afford to buy any high end gear anyway. How some of those dealers treated me when they found out that I coudn't buy at that instant is another thread.
After a while, I discovered that some dealers didn't have high end attitudes and were actually nice, helpful people. As long as you didn't waste their time when there were paying customers in the store, they were willing to invest some time in you knowing that you might come back in the future when you were ready to buy. It's called relationship building. I appreciated that. There are some people whose products I would gladly pay a little more for in return for what they've provided me in service and in education. And if you were close to a purchase, expecially if it involved multiple items, then they often initiated the suggestion of a discount, especially if it was a package deal.
So I think that the dealer is a critical variable. Some will offer a discount. Some won't. Find a dealer you like and whose advice you trust. Get to know them and let them get to know you. And you will find that deals will emerge.
My experience with gear in the 5K - 10K range is that 10 - 15% is automatic and you can probably get more. If you are lucky or have a friend you might get 30%.
There's a truly snooty "high-end" dealer near me (in waltham, MA) who will not discount anything, ever, even by 1 cent (so the only thing I ever bought there was a $10 bottle of record cleaning fluid). The list price policy might not have totally turned me off, but that combined with all the "attitude" sure did.
If you're on audiogon a lot, you can buy current-model, slightly used gear all the time at 50-60-70% of new. And a lot of the sellers on audiogon are way nicer than some of the "high-end" dealers.
There are some excellent dealers, too of course. But if they try to intimidate you if you ask for a reasonable discount, personally, I'd go elsewhere.....
just my 2 cents
first of all, if you're new to this hobby, don't spend so much period...secondly, try to purchase used- in near mint condition.
How refreshing it is (really!) to hear from Buyers out there with good advice and experience regarding discounting--rather than the mfgs and reviewers who more often than not say 'don't even ask for a discount'. Thank god for Audiogon!
First of all, I agree that you should always ask about discounts. Nobody should be offended by your questions, and if they are, then simply look elsewhere. I've found that most high end audio dealers are pretty straight forward about what they can do for you price-wise. It depends on how much you are buying, how much flexibility they have with the particular company's products you're interested in buying, and of course how serious you are as a buyer.
If they are dealers that you've bumped into from an online conneciton (Audiogon or otherwise), always call and talk to someone early in your decision making process. I've done this many times, and it always helps to break the ice. Talk about the options you are considering, what your system now consists of, and what kind of sound you're looking for, but always express a direct interest in purchasing a particular product that they offer. Dealers tend to be very friendly but they don't like tire kickers as a general rule. Have an objective in mind when you call them, and don't pressure them about the "pennies" (i.e., the exact deal they can offer you) until you're ready to make a purchase.
Just try to get a general feel for what the dealer can do for you and focus more on building a good rapport with the salesperson. Then when it comes time to deal, maybe months later, they will be more inclined to do the best they can for you because they remember talking with you before.
If, however, you know EXACTLY what you want and are only price shopping, then do them the courtesy of being direct, open and honest about it. In other words, "I've done a lot of research, and I've been auditioning speakers all over the place for months, and my heart is set on the Maggie 20.1's (lucky you). I'm 100% ready to buy a pair, and it's just a matter of what kind of a deal I can get." If you haven't wasted 20 hours of their time already, I'm sure this would be refreshing to hear, and they can react accordingly. More often than not, they will tell you exactly what they (or any other Maggie dealer) can do. But this is only if they know you are serious and ready to go with the deal.
As far as the discount itself, it depends (mostly) on the policies of the companies whose products you are intersted in purchasing. I've never purchased any Krell, AR or Maggie gear, but I suspect the 10%, 15%, and 20% types of guesses offered above would be about right. There are other high end companies that offer much higher discounts, sometimes 30% or even 40% on speakers and amps, and 50% or more on cables. But certainly not Krell, AR, or Magnepan.
These are all well established companies and they all have well established niche markets. For example, a lot of folks are exceedingly brand loyal to Krell. Why not? Krell has always made excellent products, they have been around for a long time in a very tough industry, and they can afford to advertise extensively. But Krell seems to attract a LOT of 'up and coming' types of audiophiles. This is especially true of high income professionals who are trying to put together a killer HT system and then be done with it for the next 10 years. They types of people have yet to discover Audiogon, and might not even be interested in becoming a "hobbyist" even if they did. Many of them have decided that they want the "best" (whatever it costs) and Krell has a great reputation. Yet, Krell gear doesn't necessarily represent the best price/performance ratio available today, or at least not for their entire product line.
I'm not suggesting that ALL of Krell's customers (or AR and Magnepan customers that matter) are "semi informed" and are not interested in researching other alternatives any further. But I do think there is a high enough percentage of these types of customers that Krell sees itself as being in a strong position in the market. Thus, they don't give their dealers much price flexibility, knowing full well that they will lose a sale occasionally as a result.
But there are not very many high end audio manufacturers who find themselves in such a strong position as Krell or AR. In other words, there is a LOT of competition in every niche in the market for speakers and amps. The industry is spread very thin, so the biggest problem that most high end audio manufacturers have is in sustaining volume. No matter how great their designs are, they need to make sales to survive! Everyone wants into the game and there simply are not enough customers to go around.
To combat the heavy discounting that some dealers may wish to engage in, a nummber of manufacturers have established wide dealer networks (sometimes hundreds of dealers across the country), and thus maintain tight controls over dealer pricing and will kick out any dealers who have violated their agreement. Other, smaller companies, may use only have a handful of dealers (sometimes as few as 3 or 4, but more often 10-15 dealers). All of this affects what kind of deal you can get, and helps to explain why it tends to be very company specific.
Depending on where you live, some companies may be able to sell directly to you and at a better discount than their dealers can offer, but they have to be careful not to step on dealer toes. Living overseas, I've benefitted from this knowledge on many occasions. More often than not, I can deal directly with the manufacturer or their US distributor, so long as the trasaction is set up in such a way that they ship directly to me (overseas) or to my freight forwarder. Because I live outside any of the dealer territories, this cuts out the middle man's share of the deal. They can then do a little better for me and not be any worse off (or even better off than if I had gone through a dealer) themselves. I suspect that some of these same opportunities may be available to someone who lives within the US or Canada, but in a fairly remote area (I'm just guessing, and not basing this on personal experience).
What it comes down to is that there are a lot of factors, so "it depends" is the best answer. But there is typically no need to pay full price.
I'm in Mass too, the snooty dealer has been good to me, I've made offers and they have accepted. That store used to be FAR worse years ago.
Go shopping on a slow day, & bring CASH. Flash an envelope full, & I think you`ll be pleasantly surprised. Even the "snooty" will drop their pants.
15% to 20% is the norm if you are going to install it yourself BUT if you want them to set it up at you home for optimum sound 15% plus the set up fee is fare. If they want to charge you a set up fee then shoot for 20% off.
Except Maggies,for which you will not get more than 20% discount,every other brand will be negotiable upto 30%.If Maggies are your thing, then only do the 1.6 or the 20.1.If you go for the 20.1,use the Gamut audio D230M monoblocks and the D-3 preamp.Audiophile nirvana is what you will achieve.If however you seek an alternative, then use Gamut audio's own L-7 loudspeaker.This will make you happy forever.
Full price, NEVER. On speakers, for example, what a dealer will PAY the manufacturer at $ 1,000.00, will sell to you at $ 2,000.00.
Keep this in mind, especially when the salesguy will tell you, '' Well, Sir, we hardly make any money on these (give him a Kleenex tissue, yeah, rrrrright) ''
I am not saying they shouldn't make a profit, I am just saying that they should earn their pay by being more than a wearhouse depot stop-over between the manufacturer and the buyer, and at least show a minimum of respect and competence for the buyer AND his budget.
Just an example. Not always, of course, but very frequent.
I figure a 10% minimum discount at all times. If not walk away before you change your mind. Full price is out of style, and shows a lack of respect.
I figure requesting 5% extra discounts per 6 months period the gear has been sitting on the dealer floor, is fair.
So, let's say 10% minimum discount plus another 10% if the gear has been sitting on the floor 1 year for 20% total.
2 years sitting on the floor? 30% discount, and so on until the dealer reaches near-cost selling price if the unit remains unsold. At which poing one has to ask himself WHY is the gear unsold right?
Demos with scratches? Walk away. You can do better on the A'goner buying from an owner who pampered his gear. There are many.
Dealer is snobbing you? (quite frequent) walk away.
With some of these dealers, it's better to walk away with your pride than to suffer incompetent service and bad advice.
Of course there ARE dealers that will provide great service and prices. Just just have to find them I guess.
Purchased $5,000.00 speakers, new, from authorized dealer for $3,900.00.
Purchased $3,200.00 speakers, new from dealer, for $2,400.00.
Purchased $4,500.00 amp, new from dealer, for $3,600.00.
Purchased $1,400.00 subwoofer, new from dealer, for $1,100.00.
I like to buy new if the dealer is willing to happily negotiate. If the dealer grudgingly does so (and let's you know he's unhappy with it) then I probably won't shop there much. I firmly believe that if high end dealers would "deal" more, more new people would be drawn into the hobby. I've introduced a number of people to high end audio, most of whom were completely put off by the high prices and the unwillingness of dealers to "deal". If the dealer would bring up the subject first, once realizing the customer is put off by the price, I think more high end sales would occur.
I recently contacted a local rather large dealer who carries Dynaudio and inquired about the Focus line. He was almost completely dismissive about those speakers and gave me the hard sell about a pair of $4,000.00 Dynaudios that he had as demos. He was willing to knock 15% off them. My opinion was "whoopee!" I should get more than that from a new pair. I did not go back and looked elsewhere.
Also, if you can swing cash, I'll bet the discount will be deeper.
My experience this past month:
Wanted a new surround sound experience.
Local dealer was having a garage sale.
Went, nearly first person in line.
Inside Receiver Denon 4806 Demo 1/2 price $1,500.
Snatched that up first thing.
Then came back and looked at speakers..
Got some Canton still in boxes CD300 two pair for total of $1,400. retail of $4,000. and three Center channel CD360F for $600. total, retail $2,400. And a refund via thirty day policy from the Denon DVD-5910 I bought just a few weeks before from them of an additional $500.
So, by not having to get one particular brand, (though I was after a Denon receiver) I save 60% new, from a LOCAL retail dealer.
This was the best new stuff deal I ever got.
So remember, If you have to have specific items, the dealer may not be willing to deal, but if you know the stuff, and can wait for deals to show themselves, you can get some pretty good stuff at killer prices.
It's tough to negotiate without a point of reference. On most hardware, the typical markup is 40%+. If you've done your homework/research [as you should have] then it is a half hour of the good lady's/fellow's time and you can and should ask for perhaps 30%. Most dealers would asnd should be happy with 10% except the Armani-clad set on Rodeo Drive. Return privileges may suggest a smaller discount.
Americans are terrifed of negotiating while it is common practice in most other parts of the world. We never learned how! Some vendors are even insulted when you don't! Grow a set and demand value for your precious lucre. But respect the dealers overhead at the same time. A good guide to reputable dealers and their cutomers satisfaction is available right here on Audiogon. I trust that part is still free.
I would start off with telling the sales rep everything you want in detail and then tell him you want his best price. If there are no alternative dealers where you have less pull. A package is always the best way to get the best price. Remember here though, if you make the price too skinny, the sales rep will not be interested in making you a customer for life. Tripper is right on price and potential discount.
Dealers will discount. The better you can negotiate the better the discount.
Here is what I do. I see what I can get an item for on Audiogon. Then I go into the dealer and say "Look I can get this for X used. I want to buy it from you new though but I only want to pay this." Now you can start negotiating and the dealer knows that you are informed. Keep in mind too that a lot of this stuff is marked up anywhere from 40% to 60%. There is room in the price for discounts.
Any dealer is more likely to give discounts to NICE people. In fact, it is enjoyable to give the nice guy a good deal. He is the exception to the rule that makes keeping a bricks and mortar store worthwhile.
Keep in mind that on very high end equipment there is usually a lower profit margin for the dealer. He is not often able to give the same % discount on those items.
If you prove to be a straightforward and honest guy to deal with, most (good) dealers will OFFER a discount of some sort een if it is just to cover the sales tax. Just remember that there are any number of tire kickers that shop the store every day who are ready to "pull the trigger" that same day so that they can get a good price. The dealer knows that some of these same guys will not buy, and come back months latter expecting the same discount on something retailing for 1/10th of what they were initialy interested in.
If you treat any retailer with the same level of respect you would expect there is lots of room for manuvering. Too many people simply expect to buy at cost. These are the bain of every retailers existance and the people for whom a very special corner of Heck has been reserved.
30% discount on a product that has a 40% margin?
I want to live in the country that this kind of windfall profit will sustain a business! Might as well start washing dishes; much better reward vs efforts ratio.
Who was talking about a 30% discount?
I was talking about TWICE that...
years ago , when i bought my levinson 336 ( 10K)
the two local dealers would not budge a cent.
i just went to another Authoried dealer in another state, i got 15% off , i was so happy i bought the matching 380s and some cable altogether . I hope all the snobbish dealer are reading this thread
Hi there the same rules of thumb apply to audio as any other commodity CASH IS KING especially in this economy. Luxury items are the first to get hit. Tact and manorism is a must,and that applies even more to the seller! Remember your trying to give them your hard earned money, and not vice versa ! any dealer who gives you the attitude is not worthy of your business. If you are willing to spend 5 figures on a system, I would expect to save 20 percent. Real shame some of these dealers havent figured out you attract way more bees with honey than vinager
A little off topic. Has anyone here ever got a discount on new Sim Audio gear from an authorized dealer? The local dealer here said that it is Sim Audio policy to not discount their product.
I like the dealer in every other way but, have never heard of a manufacturer other than Apple or a couple other non audio manufacture's not allowing the distributors to give discounts.
Needless to say I have not bought anything from this dealer other than a few small accessories.
When cutting a cash deal....is a check the same as cash...or is a cash deal hard cash only?
When cutting a cash deal....is a check the same as cash...or is a cash deal hard cash only?
Yes, a check is the same as cash. Infact if you were to buy something over $10K and pay with Greenbacks good chance the Feds will be knocking at your door. LOL....
Steve and Beemer - I like the snooty Audio dealer in Waltham. Malcolm and Paul have always treated me with respect and the utmost professionalism. However, it was a bit differnet when the owner operated out of his house. I waited at least 45 minutes while he finished his lunch, then he gave me a talk on cables and told me to come back when he had more time. Trying to weed out the tire kickers, I guess. Made me so mad, I felt justified in going in once and listening to stuff I had no intention of buying new. I would never do that to them now, though. Although I haven't bought much from them, given the right product, I would rather buy from them thqan anyuone else I can think of.
Eldarado, Sim Audio should be discounted no problem. First of all this gear is way overpriced. Secondly, the margins and company policy regarding dealers, well,.....maybe I will stop here as I am biased. This manufacturer took me to the cleaners once and I have zero respect for them.
Mitch4T and Jea48: Glad you asked and answered that question. The advice given above to carry on your person and pay potentially tens of thousands of $$$ in cash money is ridiculous and unwise. That simply isn't done in any legit business with legit customers and legit merchandise, it's what's done when both parties are trying to keep the exchange beneath the table, usually in order to evade either taxes and/or accountability to each other and the law. The form of your payment shouldn't matter overly to the merchant when it comes to giving you a discount to earn your business. If they don't employ a check guaranteeing service then they'll incur a slightly higher transaction cost when accepting a charge, and that might affect the bottom line discount they're willing to negotiate a little bit. But on a purchase of the size you're contemplating there should never be an expectation on the part of the mechant for offering an even lower price for cash money, and if you earn airline miles or whatever on charges, or just prefer the extra degree of consumer protection using a charge may provide, then that could still be your best method of payment. Any implication that there is some increased presumption of 'seriousness' on the buyer's part by using 'cash' is nonsense -- what matters to the merchant (or should matter) is making the sale by serving the customer, and they'll be happy to receive your business regardless of whether you elect to pay by check or charge, or if not then you should move on.
Amen Zaikesman. I thinkthat we have all seen cash before. The sight of an envelope full of cash that adds up to way less than any reasonable asking price will not impress many dealers. Had a guy offer me $300 CASH last week for a $1,000 CDP. I used a line borrowed from my father; "Sir, we are so far appart that I don't think we will be able to find a middle ground."
Honest1, I agree, Paul is a good salesman at the snooty Audio dealer in Waltham. The other one you mentioned, once ragged on my than-current gear (loudly) in the lobby of the store, & in full hearing of other customers & employees. And some of it I had bought from those guys at their previous store !
BTW, I just bought a 3 m.o. pair of speakers & stands (that they sell) for $3350 w/shipping on audiogon. List price (that they always insisted on with me) is around $5775. Plus sales tax. And the audiogon seller has been way easier to deal with......
The form of your payment shouldn't matter overly to the merchant when it comes to giving you a discount to earn your business. If they don't employ a check guaranteeing service then they'll incur a slightly higher transaction cost when accepting a charge, and that might affect the bottom line discount they're willing to negotiate a little bit.
About 2% to 3%. That is what the credit card company charges the merchant when a credit card is used for payment.
Why on earth would anybody want to deal with a snooty audio dealer and pay him money for being an ahole. Occasianally I have to deal with rude customers, damn if I will spend my money dealing with a snooty prick. Just my 2 cents....
On the subject of discounting and retail stores telling customers that the manufacturer won let them discount...is 100 percent illegal....and furthermore no manufacturer can terrminate a dealer for discounting.
I don't know why some of these stores don't have "Snooty Audio" as the name of their store. Or, "Snotty Pretentious Audio" maybe. They should do a sketch on SNL, with a pompous salesperson (played by Will Ferrell perhaps) insulting all the customers & sneering at their current gear......
It reminds me of the time an audio store in So. NH tried very, very hard to sell me a set of $10,000 speaker cables.......for speakers I had paid $2500 for, & an amp I'd paid $1000 for. Apparently, every cable they had for less than $10,000 just wasn't quite good enough.....
"It reminds me of the time an audio store in So. NH tried very, very hard to sell me a set of $10,000 speaker cables.......for speakers I had paid $2500 for, & an amp I'd paid $1000 for. Apparently, every cable they had for less than $10,000 just wasn't quite good enough...."
Nah, just not quite expensive enough (AKA high-commission enough), same as your amp and speakers. The lousy salesman typically prefers 0% of an impossible dream to 10% of reality...
I think it's important to know where you are bargaining from. I am very close to a dealer who just had this happen:
Customer (let's just say not American, but from one of those parts of the world that does know how to bargain!)asks for dealer's best price. Well discounted price was ~$15K for multi-room + home theater etc. Now the dealer had already done a site survey and had spent many many hours w/ this fellow. Buyers stated budget was around $15K, so requested price was met with well discounted equipment after much time invested. Buyer says, OK, I'll do it - for $12K. After much wrangling dealer comes close to 12K, and buyer won't budge. Since dealer would lose money at this point for dropping his pants for this jerk, dealer lets him walk. Dealer points out that
1) If I started at $18K (still below retail)and we met at $15K, you would have been perfectly happy! and
2) Dealer did not assume beginning the negotiation that it was EXPECTED that he was SUPPOSED to try to be ripping the buyer off!
So, the moral is, if your dealer is a good guy and the stuff is already discounted a bit, be fair. But I guess if your main point is to feel like you are taking advantage of someone, an honest, hardworking B+M that truly wants to get you the best bang for your buck is not the place to shop.
Steve - that's too bad about your experience. The Tall One has a dry sense of humor, but I don't think it's so dry that you wouldn't be able to tell humor from serious ragging on your equipment. I've had limited expereince with the 2 stores in Southern NH, nothing bad. Your experience is ludicrous to the point of being very funny. It was worth the experince just for the story you can tell now!!
The worst store IMHO is the snooty store in Frmaingham. They have some good stuff (Maggie, Ayre,etc), and some very good policies, but their attitude stinks - high pressure, just move a lot of very expensive boxes, and if the customer questions the owner's judgement, just yell louder.
Audio dealers are desparate to make a sale, any sale. Walk away by saying, "gee all I have right now is..." Leave the guy your phone #, you'll get a call in one week/less. "Oh I've gota deal for you on that amp you wanted"
If the amp/speakers are say 2K, bid $1500. He'll end up meeting you half way. Trust me they want your money.
Now if its a product I know i wany and will keep for yrs and yrs, like a amp and speaker i have plans for, I'll pay asking price, abit below.
are you talking about natural sound, my experiences have been much different
As I dealer this is a discussion which I hold dear.
I love the person saying you should get a 60% discount, NOT!
The answear to your question should be not how much discount your are or are not entitled to but what is this industry about! High end audio is not about buying a "used" car or going to Best buy and buying a $100 DVD burner.
A good dealer will provide a room or rooms or equipment for you to listen to. A good dealer will help educate you to what sounds good and what you will enjoy. A good dealer will set up your gear or will help you to do it yourself.
For that service a dealer is entitled to make a profit.
We go into business because we love the industry, but we all have to stay in business. I have spend $450,000.00 in demo equipment and that is for only 3 rooms! I have two trucks and a $1,000,000.00 liability policy to protect my clients.
If I don't make money how can I afford to pay for my mortgage, and buy food, and advertise and afford to live.
High end audio is a business! I want to sell equipment and provide outstanding service but I need to make a living!
I would love to see if the tables were reversed and your boss if you have one says that your time is worth an arbitrary lower amount, how would you feel.
A 10% discount is a fair amount to give off as a compromise to your clients, if the dealer is doing a great job then even, gulp, paying full retail is not a weird or outragous transgression.
I have routinly installed big systems for free, done deliveries for free and brought components to customers houses for free, if the customer is worth it and the dealer is offering great service then both parties are doing the right thing!
People on Audiogon need to realize that a good and carring dealer is what this is supposed to be about.
As per the post of the dealer trying to sell a $10,000.00 speaker cable to a guy owning $2,000.00 speakers, this is a golden example of a scumbag dealer doing what is good for him, not you! It is transparent and obvious. Shoot the bastard. I got into my own business to serve my clients and make a living. There are many passionate dealers who will give you great service, they need to be supported and they deserve to make a living and put food on their tables and live in houses and drive cars too!
Buying audio should be like anything else in life, it should be fun and pleasurealbe and ammicable for all! Having a dealer not make money is not fair and not aimicable. This is a very expensive type of business if you are a real dealer!
Live and let live, and have fun!
Draw - yes. Like I said, there are good things about the store, and some of the people seem ok, but I have also seen a lot of bad attitude.
Has anyone notice that many high end stores seem to have these same 3 or 4 types of salesmen?
--a slight, scrawny guy with a beard & glasses, non-descript personality, able to carry around gigantic full-range speakers by himself with no problem.
--a big, portly guy, sometimes with or w/o beard or glasses, sometimes the friendliest salesman in the store.
--a Tall, pompous, snooty guy whos purpose is to insult the customer's current equipment.
--occasionally, a leftover hippie from the 60's who you can just tell ate way too many mushrooms at one point.
A friend & I once theorized that when audio stores advertise for a new salesman, they advertize for whatever type they don't have (wanted, "tall, snooty audio salesman", or "slight, scrawny audio salesman with a beard & glasses"). They need a balance of the 4 types in each store; 2 big, portly types, or 2 tall snooty types in one store wouldn't work out at all.
It's just a theory tho......
To me a good dealer is worth buying from. And I agree with the above. If you gointo a hi end shop and they you have alot on display and a fair amount in stock, thats a good sign.
Guess what, it costs money for that gear to be there, and if you are treated right and given time to listen and compare, or even borrow something to try, also a good sign, if you take up alot of store time and borrow things and bring them back, for the sole purpose of trying to buy them used on Agon....thats a BAD sign...on the customers part.
If everybody did that all dealers would go outof business.
NOW, if you walk into a " hi end shop" and they have some gear on display and nothing in stock....to me thats a BAD sign...limited display so you cant really compare or hear what you want....and then they tell you " we can order it for you"...I for one will not and do not buy or support stores like thatk, they have no real knowledge and are just order takers, quite frankly I feel they are useless.
I do support and buy from my local dealer who i feel offers real value...but ultimately it is up to the customer what they think is the right thing to do.
Great advise, but to add my 2 cents worth, information is the key. Find out the price of an item on the net, look at alternatives and work out what you think a fair price is. I think a good dealer is a great asset to us and should be treated fairly. That means not going for demos if you have no intention of buying and are going to look 2nd hand. That has cut me off from most dealers as all my stuff is 2nd hand.
It is reasonable to look to 10% and reasonable to ask, a good dealer should respond with a straight answer to a straight question, if he does'nt go elsewhere. Others have talked about dealers setting up for you, in my experience that is often the dealers operating from their home, less overheads, you should still get some discount, but that service has some cost.