Many consider haggling a tool for cheapskates. But that is terribly wrong. Haggling is a handy life skill we all can do with. In reality, we all negotiate whether this is during domestic shopping or as business owners.
Ever walked into a store, found out the prices were above your budget, and walked back out empty handed? What if you could drive down these prices a notch to get a better deal? The truth is you’d never get a better deal if you didn’t ask.
A survey by Consumer Reports once found that 89% of persons who bargained got better deals at least once. So, there is no harm in trying. If you are considering it, though, you want to do it right.
Here are 10 handy haggling tips and tricks to help you out.
1. Come prepared
One of the major barriers to haggling while shopping is fear and embarrassment. However, if you have done your homework on what you’re bargaining for, you’ll be aware of what a fair price is. This way you avoid requesting for a price that is too low, immediately putting off the vendor, who in turn immediately shuts you off.
2. Be discreet
Not every store allows bargaining. Be sure to know your environment before you consider bargaining. When you do, do not begin asking about a better deal in front of other shoppers as they too will be interested, making the salesperson less inclined to deal. A salesperson will be more likely to deal if he were to deal with you alone.
3. Avoid making the first offer
Starting out your bargaining with a statement like “can I get 10% off of this?” is a poor negotiation practice. On the one hand, you miss the opportunity to get a better deal if possible. On the other hand, you put the vendor in a better position to say no. Using a more open ended offer like “I’d love to have this but it is quite off my budget; can I get any help?” will force the salesperson into a position of sympathy.
4. Watch your personality
You do not haggle successfully by being aggressive or argumentative. You need the salesperson to be happy with the deal they offer you, even when it is below their preferred selling price. You can only achieve this by being sweet and diplomatic. Tease them and show them you are willing to work with them.
5. There is a time to be quiet
You do not always have to say something while negotiating a better deal. When you both come up short with no idea what to say next, wait. If you say nothing, the dealer will be forced to fill in the awkward silence and might just say yes to your offer. Even if they don’t, listening to what they have to say can help your next strategy.
6. Relate with the seller on a personal note
Everyone has an interest, something that gets them off. If you are able to get them talking they feel more comfortable with you. Not sure what to say? You can always start with something surrounding your purchase. Showcase your knowledge of the product you are about to purchase, how you use it, what you use them for, etc. And don’t fail to throw in some humor into the conversation. As the vendor relaxes around you, they are more likely to sweeten your deal.
7. Don’t be too enthusiastic
Yes, you want the seller to see that you need this product which is beyond your budget. But you don’t want to show them your life and happiness depends on it. Don’t show them the product is everything you’ve been looking for. Look out for sticking points that make you downplay its importance or degrade its quality. You do not want to be abusive; only trying to show you are quite on the fence about the purchase. The seller will unconsciously want to make this purchase worth your while by trying to convince you of its quality, and potentially reducing the price on offer. Make it known that you are willing to walk away.
8. Don’t be scared of walking away
What do you consider a good deal? Be sure to have a price in mind which you wouldn’t mind paying. When you get to that price, take it – even if it seems like you got there too easy. If the vendor is unwilling to get down to your valuation, walk away. If the item can be sold for that low, the vendor will call you back. After all, a low selling price is better than no sales. If they don’t call you back, head over to another seller and try again.
9. Always go with cash
Money wire, credit cards, and the likes come with certain uncertainties. You do not want to bring out a card or a check when you finally agree a price. Seeing the cash gives the seller some certainty that the deal will go through, at no extra cost to them. Besides, flashing your cash in the face of the seller in a sort of “take it or leave it” offer is likely to tease them into action.
10. Incentivize the seller
A seller that knows you are likely to return for either another purchase or for repairs will be more willing to hold on to you as a customer. Be specific about what you’ll be needing them for later on and how you plan to use their services. Give them a reason to deal.
There you have it. Put on your best behavior, wear a great smile and begin to haggle. A willingness to bargain can save you a lot in expenses over time. Remember, even big entrepreneurs bargain: companies are hardly sold or bought at the initial asking price, neither are mergers. So, drop the stereotype and act today to cut costs.