Negotiations can seem as complex as physics, and in fact, people go to college to study the science of negotiating just as they would the laws of nature. At the same time, negotiation is like an ancient art form, some sort of Zen mental jujitsu. When neither the Zen nor the science works, though, no one wins.

Just ask any hockey fan out there. The recent lockout and cancellation of the 2004-2005 NHL season is a perfect example of poor negotiating. Both the players union and the league owners broke all of the rules when it came to brokering an agreement on player contracts. The result are hockey rinks across North America that are so quiet that you can hear a pin drop-unfortunately, not a puck. In dollar terms, professional hockey is missing out on television contracts, advertising fees, and tons of ticket sales.

Of course, you wont lose billions in revenue if you fail at the latest negotiation at your favorite online classified or auction site. But you could let a treasure slip through your fingers. Success in deal making, on the other hand, could land you that rookie Bobby Orr card, signed Stanley Cup puck, or whatever other fantastic item youre bidding on.

Plus, proper negotiations and compromise can ensure that you get the item for its fair value, including a good price on shipping and taxes. This increases the profitability of the trade for both you and the seller. The deal gets closed without nasty disputes, blow-ups, or hip checks. And both of you are left to do business again in the future.

To score all of these benefits, and avoid your own mini lockout, follow these simple tips on negotiating that will net results at online classified sites. As youll see, victory isnt so much an exact science or a mystic sixth sense. Its more about simple know-how and common sense.

Warm up. Dont jump into a negotiation cold. Before you even face off with your opponent, figure out for yourself what would count as a victory. What do you exactly want out of the trade-and at what price?

Consider a truce. It may not even be worth dropping the puck at all. In other words, negotiations, like hockey games, can end in a loss for the home team, you. So weigh this risk before you start. If the item at hand is a dream buy, you may not want to endanger your purchase with a drawn-out negotiation.

Know when to pass. On the other hand, if the item is far from dreamy-and youre pretty sure something better may come along later-you could pass on negotiations. Or go for the score. Offer a lowball price. If you win, you wont be out too much, and if you lose, it wont leave a mark either. But be certain if you play this game. You could miss this opportunity without a guarantee of future prospects.

Know your enemy. Coaches and players spend hours before games watching films of their impending competition to study their tendencies. You need to take the same approach when it comes to making a deal. Try to read your opponents mind. What is his or her goals in the negotiation? Does he or she have any strengths that they can use against you? Are there any weaknesses that you can use against them?