#1: Be Knowledgeable
It’s important that you know the average price of the product as well as what other retailers are offering for the same item. This knowledge helps you when it comes time to negotiate. Ask if they’ll price match against their competitors. This can be a great way to ease yourself into haggling for better prices.
Actionable Tip: Do your homework and have fliers or the other website on your phone to show the salesperson.
#2: Make a Connection
You can’t walk right up to someone and blurt out the price you’re willing to spend. Let the salesperson get to know you a little. Ask their name and make a solid connection. Ask them questions to show your interest. Once they’ve invested some time into their pitch, allow the talk to circle money. Give yourself enough time in the store or market to have these conversations and deepen the connection between you and the salesperson or merchant.
Actionable Tip: See what they have to offer. Actually listen to the clerk’s speech since you’ll want to know about the features too. It’ll help when you move on to the actual negotiating part of the transaction.
#3: Reasons to Negotiate
Many large retailers are not going to negotiate. Places like Walmart or Best Buy will price match, but they’re not going to be as amenable to haggling as a local independent store. If you’re a loyal customer, be sure that’s part of the negotiation. You want to give them reasons to negotiate with you. Tell them you shop locally to support mom and pop stores.
Actionable Tip: Explain that you always shop local, or that you frequent the shop often. Small, independent shops appreciate loyal customers.
#4: Anxious Sellers
When it comes to homes and cars, motivated, anxious sellers are more willing to negotiate. They might need the money quickly, or they have to move immediately for work. You can often see the signs as they’re stressed or visibly anxious to sell. They might come across as impatient, but don’t let that impatience deter you from making your pitch.
Actionable Tip: Ask why they’re selling. Check to see if there’s any sign that they would be willing to take a lower price. If it’s a car, offer a quick sale on the spot for less than their asking price.
#5: List the Flaws
If there are obvious flaws, point them out to the sales person. Ask for a discount based on those flaws. If you notice them, so will another customer. You should be the one to get the deal. Dents, dings, open packages, missing items are all reasons to ask for a deal on the merchandise. Even missing items are not deal breakers. You can easily replace a cord or a missing piece with another one.
Actionable Tip: The sales clerk might not be the right employee to haggle with, and in that case, you should ask for a floor manager.
#6: Be Willing to Walk Away
When you threaten to take your business to someone else, make sure you’re willing to do that. If you’re trying to get a better deal on cable, threaten to go to the dish company, but be willing to make the switch. Trained sales staff can usually tell when someone is bluffing. You can still ask for a deal, but before threatening to leave, be careful that that is what you want to do.
Actionable Tip: When threatening to change providers, cancel your service. Sometimes, the provider will come back in a few days with a better offer. Make sure they have your email to send you offers.
#7: Silence as a Tactic
After a dealer has announced the price, hold your tongue for a few minutes. The silence will make them wonder if they should present another price. It’ll cause them to question themselves. It’s what the police do with suspects. Most people want to fill that awkward silence.
Actionable Tip: If you have a poker face, this is a perfect tactic. Don’t over-exaggerate your facial features. Just look bland and unconvinced.
#8: Cash Discounts
In small stores, credit card and transaction fees can be expensive. Even stalls at flea markets or little kiosks in the mall might be willing to take cash for the product at a lower cost. In the end, it saves money for you and the dealer.
Actionable Tip: Always ask about discounts or savings for using cash. It might not work in a big box store, but small retailers can save.
#9: Deals on Multiples
Whether it’s a necklace or a refrigerator, ask if you can get a deal on buying more than one of the same item. Buying in bulk almost always results in a deal for both you and the seller. If you’re at a market or kiosk, the items don’t have to be the same. You can ask about buying a necklace and a pair of sunglasses for a discount.
Actionable Tip: Take a friend or family member who needs large items. You can each get a savings if you need a new washing machine or other household appliance.
#10: Don’t be Enthusiastic
Once you’ve given away that you must have an item, all your negotiating power has gone out the window. It’s helpful if you don’t chat with your companions about how much you need the item before moving in on the clerk. It’s likely that he or she has already heard you, and made up their mind about the price they’ll ask you to pay.
Actionable Tips: Keep your face and voice neutral, or you’ll risk paying full price or more for an item. This is especially true if there’s no price and the dealer sees your reaction.
Practice Your Haggling Techniques
To employ the best haggling skills, you should practice. Start small by asking for price matching in your local stores. Go to flea markets and thrift stores where the dealers expect negotiations. Normally, they love to haggle, which is why they’re in the business.
Once you’ve negotiated long enough with a dealer, and they’ve accepted your offer, it’s rude to walk away from the sale. Don’t start negotiations with a dealer when you don’t plan on purchasing the item. If the price is still too high, don’t be afraid to walk away from the person.
Give yourself enough time to really talk to the salesperson or dealer. This shouldn’t be a rushed exchange. Practice in every situation where you’re spending your hard-earned dollars. The worst that can happen is the clerk tells you no. That certainly isn’t the worst thing to ever happen to you in your life.