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5 Tools to Negotiate a Better Deal... On Anything

by Laura Foor

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Whether you're on a strict budget or are always on the lookout for a great bargain, it's good to have a few negotiating tricks up your sleeve when making large purchases. Did you know that some people actually make it a goal to see how much money they can save every single time they buy something? That's because they know the secret ways to get discounts, and they use them to their full advantage.

If you're someone who thinks you're getting a deal when a store says they'll match another store's price so you'll buy from them, please know that they do this for everyone. When it comes to saving big bucks, price matching simply isn't going to cut it. These stores are doing whatever they can in order to get your loyalty, and price matching is one of the basics.

So what should you do? Have a plan. When you walk into a store with a plan in mind, you're much more apt to succeed when it comes to negotiations.

TIP #1 - Find the Decision Maker

Don't you hate it when you tell someone something only to have them turn around and make you say it all over again to someone else? Don't waste your time. Your first step is to ask if the owner (or person in charge of making the big decisions) is available.

Cecilia Roch is owner of YourSpace, a creative home furnishings store in Sierra Vista, AZ. When asked how she handles customers asking for a discount, she said, "Building a relationship with who you are selling to is very important in getting the best deal, but most don't even ask.  If I've had a piece for a while, I'm also more willing to deal."

TIP #2 - Bundle

Although you may pay more upfront, you'll be saving more in the long run. Let's say you need a new sofa. Are there any other furniture purchases you plan on making in the next year or two? Now may be a good time for you to go ahead and make those purchases. Roch adds, "I'm much more open to offering customers a deal if they're buying in bulk or are great repeat customers."

If you're already planning on purchasing at least two items, don't share this information upfront. First try to negotiate a deal on purchase #1. When a deal is made that you can both agree on, bring up the additional purchase to see how much more of a discount you can get.

TIP #3 - Imperfections

Large appliances like stoves and refrigerators often contain various sized dents. If you find an imperfect appliance, you'll first need to make sure that the imperfection is purely cosmetic, meaning it won't interfere with the operation of the appliance. Now it's time for you to ask how much of a discount you'll receive to take the defective appliance off their hands. Since the standard answer is going to be either 5% or 10%, don't settle for less than 15% with 20% being an even better deal.

Related: Getting Great Deals on Scratch and Dent Appliances

TIP #4 - Offer to Trade

Do you sell something of value? Maybe you're a business owner who has something of value the other party would be interested in having? Of course, the other party would need to be the actual store owner or the person who actually owns the property that's being negotiated. What's the worst that can happen? They'll say no. So it's worth a try, right? At the very least, you've just promoted your business to a potentially new customer.

Related: The Ins and Outs of Bartering

TIP #5 - Be Likeable

You'd be surprised at how much of a discount likeable people get. They know that establishing a "friendship," even though it only may last for an hour or two, is an essential part of getting what they want. And although likability is important, this is ultimately a business transaction. While your goal is to get a great deal, remember that the seller is looking to make a profit, too.

Good to Know

If you're not yet getting the deal you expected, be quiet. Let the other party do the talking for a while. They'll soon see that they may be losing your business. For that reason alone, they will most likely offer you the deal you want if it's reasonable, of course.

Also, shopping at the end of the month can be beneficial as this is the time when stores are looking to meet their monthly sales goals.

Reviewed July 2017

Laura Foor is a freelance writer who specializes in writing quality articles for online publication for 6+ years. Graduating from UCB with a degree in Environmental Sciences in 2009, she also works part time as a Farmers Market manager where she focuses on healthy food education.

Take the Next Step:

  • Go ahead and choose a method to try with your next purchase.
  • Learn these savvy shopping strategies for scoring the best deals.
  • Learn how to barter smarter and take your negotiation skills to the next level.
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