Easy and Effective Negotiation

by Shelley Wake

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For many items, negotiation is expected. This means the price on the item is never what they expect you to pay, it is always more. If you pay the ticket price, you have paid too much.

Negotiation is a word that many people are scared of, but negotiation does not mean being demanding or mean, quite the opposite. It just means getting the lowest price you can. Negotiation is the art of getting things from that highest price to the lowest price possible. Here are twelve tips to make sure you get things for the lowest possible price:

  1. Be polite. Being mean or demanding will not get you far in negotiation. It is far more effective just to be polite. Remember that the person you are negotiating with is just a person. If you are nice to them, they will be more inclined to help you.
  2. Look at it from the salesperson's point of view. The salesperson has a job to do. Their job is to sell it to you at the highest possible price. But their job is also to make the sale. They would rather sell it to you for the lowest price than have you walk away. To make use of this you need to do two things. First, let them know you are serious. Second, don't let them think you are too keen.
  3. Let them know you are serious. Let them know that you are serious and that you will buy this product if they offer you the right deal. It is just like an auction. Auctions continue half-heartedly until the auctioneer says the house is 'on the market.' Once this is said, then people start the real bidding. If the salesperson is not sure whether you will buy, they will not put everything into getting you to. Show them you are serious by asking buying questions rather than general interest questions. Ask them how long delivery will be. Let them know you have done your research by showing them you know about the product and by mentioning the competitors.
  4. Don't act too keen. At the same time, you cannot act too keen. If you do, the salesperson will know that you will probably buy anyway. They will not offer you the best possible deal. Don't tell them you 'need it immediately.' Just let them know that you are in the market and will buy, if they offer the right deal. This then makes it their job to sell it, which is what they are trained to do.
  5. Don't tell the salesperson what you want. If you ask for what you want, you might just get it. But you also may have done a lot better. Don't offer specifics like "I can only spend $500." Be more general and say, "I can't buy at that price" or "that doesn't seem like a great deal."

    If it is too much, tell them that. Say, "that is above my budget, is there anything you can do to make it more affordable?" They may say, "well, you could buy floor stock." The point is you never know. Don't try to come up with the solution. Just tell them what the problem is and let them find the solution. Remember that it is their job to do this.

  6. Don't fix them into anything. Remember again, they are just people. If you fix them into giving you a base price, often their pride will stop them from going lower. This is why the direct approach does not work. If you just walk in and say "what is the lowest price you can give me on this," they most often will not give you what could have been the lowest price. They might say, "I can't go lower than $1000." As soon as they say this it is fixed. Even if it could be sold for less, they won't go lower because of their pride. The best thing is not to ask directly for the lowest price. Keep it general by saying "this seems a little high." This leaves it open and does not fix anyone in.
  7. Question them. Questions are a great tool. If the price can be a lot lower and the salesperson knows it you can just ask them, "why is it that price?" If they know it can be lower, they will automatically reduce the price for you. It is human nature, they will feel guilty and even though you have only asked a question, they will interpret it as a demand, without you having to be demanding.
  8. React to the situation. Salespeople will get more from your body language than from what you say. If the price is too high you can react to it. Lower your eyebrows. The salesperson starts guessing what you are thinking. If you make them think the price is too high, they will lower it for you without you asking. And they will think it is their idea.
  9. Have patience. The general rule is that the longer you wait the cheaper it gets. Salespeople know that they have to get you in the end. They keep their big cards until the end. They call them 'aces.' They wait until the end to offer you the ace that will make the sale. It may be free delivery, a free gift, or an extended warranty. The longer you hold on the more they will offer.
  10. Use your aces. Just like the salesperson you can keep your aces until the end. If you are thinking of buying a few things, leave this until the end. Wait till you get your fridge as low as possible. Then when they won't go lower, then say "I am also thinking about a dishwasher, what sort of deal can you give me?" You can also offer to pay cash right at the end. Just when they have gone as low as they can say, "and what can you do for me if I pay cash today?"
  11. Walk away. Thank them for their time and walk away. If they can offer you more they will. Their job is to make a sale, even if it is at the lowest possible price. This is your goal, to get to the lowest possible price. If you walk away, you will know if it has been reached. If they say nothing more, then they have gone as low as they can. If they can go further they will. Walk to the door of the shop, if they say nothing, then turn back and say, "yes, I will take it." You will know that you could not have got it cheaper than that.
  12. Remember that everything is negotiable. You can negotiate almost anything. The bigger the item, the more you are expected to negotiate. But even small items can be negotiated. Clothes, tools, groceries, everything. If you are not sure, it never hurts to ask. Just be polite, ask with a smile and see what they say. You never know how much you might save or what they might offer you.

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