Hate to haggle? Me too! As much as I love a good deal…I’m rather lame at negotiating. Luckily, I have a business partner (my nephew Scott) who is very good at it! He apparently takes after his grandpa, my dad, who is GREAT at haggling! That particular gene apparently skips a generation. :-) Research shows that despite the fact that haggling can save us hundreds of dollars a year, most of us find the thought of negotiating unpleasant. Common complaints being that it makes us feel awkward and cheap.
But lately I’ve been trying to look at it this way….haggling is actually a win-win! Most retailers would rather sell something today at a discount than have it sit around, and asking for a markdown doesn’t make you cheap; it shows that you’re savvy about how you spend your money!
So with that in mind….here are 19 SIMPLE tips for overcoming the fear of haggling by sharpening our negotiating skills:
Not many people are willing to compromise when dealing with a jerk. Good hagglers are always upbeat, polite and patient. You’ll have much more success if the person controlling the price likes you.
Sellers may not want to make your great deal public. Haggling quietly and out of earshot of other patrons will allow the person in charge to be more flexible when agreeing to bargain.
Do Your Research
Good hagglers take the time to research products, services and pricing before they buy. Arming yourself with advertisements, printed Internet pages or notes on pricing and policies offers a visible comparison to show a salesperson. You’ll come across as a qualified buyer.
Subdue your embarassment and be brave. After all it is your hard earned money you are parting with and you have every right to get the best value for it. If the seller is snippy or snotty, explain you are there with an intention to buy but may go elsewhere if they aren’t interested in doing business.
Pick The Right Time
Salespeople generally have more time to talk to you at the very beginning or very end of the day. Also keep an eye on when retailers have their major annual sales. When retailers need to clear out last season’s goods to make way for the next round, they’re more willing to deal.
Have A Target Price
Know what other stores charge for the same or similar items. Decide on a good price before you begin negotiations. Aim for a great price, but know what price you’d be willing to accept.
Have An Escape Plan
If you find the pressure is getting a bit too intense make sure you have an excuse ready to get yourself out of the store. Have a reason ready that the salesperson can’t argue with: I have a dentist appointment in 10 minutes; I’ve got to pick the children up from school.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Even if it is the most beautiful item you’ve ever seen, curb your enthusiasm. Make comments like “that’s interesting,” which indicates both interest and detachment.
Bring A Friend
Better yet, make it a friend that doesn’t like the price or who is bored and wants to leave. This trick can work to bring the price down faster. Having someone with you also allows you to play the oldest trick in the book; good cop/bad cop. One of you points out the flaws in the product while the other reassures the seller that you are still interested.
Be Willing To Walk Away
A good haggler knows when to walk away empty-handed. Hagglers shop often and rarely out of need. This puts them in the best negotiating position because if the price isn’t low enough, they simply walk away. But don’t leave without a friendly good-bye and be sure to leave your contact information – you may get a call later on from a seller who had a change of heart.
Buy Several Items at the Same Time
Buying multiples or more than one thing can give you additional leverage to ask for a deal. The seller has more to lose by turning down a small profit per item on several items than a small profit on just one purchase.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to make a deal. It’s always good to let the salesperson tell you about the product you want to buy. You may know a bit already from the research you’ve done, but it relaxes them, and it’s polite to listen to the information you are being given.
Because it creates awkwardness, silence can be golden. If you reach an impasse on price reductions, don’t say anything, just listen. The other person will often make a concession just to end the uncomfortable silence.
If you’re fine with buying floor models, close-out products or flawed items, ask for a discount for taking them off the seller’s hands. Many department stores automatically give 10 to 20 percent off if you point out damaged items.
Money Isn’t Everything
Ask the store to throw in free accessories if you can’t get them to lower their price (free decorative pillows on a new sofa, free tie with a shirt, etc.)
Ask For A Cash Discount
Paying with cash or check instead of a credit card eliminates the transaction fee (about 3 percent) that must be paid to the credit card companies.
Don’t Forget to E-Negotiate
Take advantage of the online chat option. A simple, “Do you have a free-shipping coupon or another discount?” is sufficient in most cases. Nine times out of 10 online customer support people have coupons sitting at their desk to give to you.
Haggling isn’t warfare. If you approach it with a sense of humor, the salesperson is likely to join you. Two people having fun haggling are more likely to come to a mutually agreeable price.
And last but not least….and one of my personal favorites:
Pop The Question
Ask the question: “Is that the best you can do?”….and then just wait. As awkward as the resulting silence might seem, it’s even more uncomfortable for your salesperson. The ball is now in their court, and nothing more will happen until they respond.
Remember, no purchase price is set in stone and you’ll never get any kind of deal unless you ask for it. The worst that’s going to happen is they’ll say no!
So give it a try! I will if YOU will! :-)