1. The most important tip when bartering is have something valuable to barter. And that means storing up bartering items before the SHTF. The best bartering items don’t cost much before the SHTF, are easy to store, and will be worth a lot after the SHTF. See my Stuff to Store for Bartering post. You don’t want to be in a disadvantaged position, before the bartering even begins, by having little of value to offer.
2. Know the value of your bartering items. Forget about what an item is worth before disaster strikes. What’s it worth now? Do not underestimate the value of your items. The marketplace has changed, and your bartering items are not easily obtainable, and would be expensive, if available.
3. Talk up the value of your offer. Mention the difficulty of obtaining the item, in the current situation. Talk up its usefulness over anything else your fellow barterer may have. And don’t let them talk down its value.
4. Know the value of the item that you want. Do you really need that item? What’s it worth to you, compared to what you already own? Do not overpay for an item, just because you want it.
5. Talk down the value of the item you are seeking. Do not let on that it is valuable. Express that you can do without it. Do not seem overly interested.
6. Once you start negotiations, walking away can seem like losing. And no one likes to lose. Don’t fall into the trap of paying too much because you didn’t want to walk away. Car salesmen know this fact: the more time you spend negotiating, the harder it is for you to walk away.
7. Trust is not part of the negotiation. Do not trust that they will provide anything, goods or services, after you have handed over your item. Verify every substantial assertion made about the deal and the item you seek. Even if the other person is a relative, friend, long-time acquaintance or neighbor, trust is not part of the deal.
8. Bring someone with you to the negotiation, in case things go south. Never go alone to barter, or to make an exchange of items.
9. Have a contingency plan, in case they turn down your offer. You could sweeten the deal by adding another item of modest value. Or you could offer a different item entirely.
10. Have an exit strategy. Regardless of whether the deal happens or not, you need a way to exit the situation without being robbed by the other person, or by a third party. You need a way to safely return home with your items.
11. Develop multiple sources for all of the goods that you need to purchase or barter for. That way, you won’t be dependent on any one source, and so you won’t have to pay too much for any item.