Retailers use a more politically correct term – pricing discussion – but nonetheless, it’s still good, old fashioned haggling and it’s becoming more common. It’s simple math, and just like the song Money for Nothing says,
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these color TV’s
With consumers in the driver’s seat, stores need to move their merchandise so here are 21 tips to help you “get YOUR haggle on” and save money in the process.
1. Carry and use only cash. Greenbacks speak louder than checks or credit cards. Have the self discipline to only use cold hard cash.
2. Ask the right person. That cashier may not be authorized to discount your potential purchase, but the manager might. Don’t take a “no” from someone who can’t say “yes.”
3. Homework, homework, homework. Know the competition’s prices and come prepared with sales flyers or quotes – online quotes also work!
4. Ask for a referrals discount. If you bring a friend who makes a purchase, will the store give you a commission discount?
5. Be nice. The old saying may be that nice guys finish last, but I can assure you that the mean ones rarely even get to finish at all.
6. Note the imperfections. Minor cosmetic damage should be pointed out but don’t mention that it’s minor. Damaged is damaged in the haggling world.
7. Evaluate the salesperson. A newbie may be willing to cut a price much more than a seasoned pro.
8. Come back later. If you’ve tried haggling and it didn’t work, come back later in the day and see if the salesperson is more motivated.
9. Money isn’t the only discount. 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)
10. Buy in bulk. The more you buy at one time, the more willing a store will be to give you a pricing discount.
11. Use the buddy system. My father in law is a shrewd pricing negotiator and having seen him in action, he’s the type you need with you!
12. Pick the right date. The end of the month or fiscal year is an ideal time to start a “pricing discussion” with a store manager.
13. Pick the right time. If the store is full of customers, asking for a discount will not work. They don’t want everyone around to start asking so wait until there are very few people in the store.
14. Stroll in with confidence. Stammering and stuttering won’t make you look like you’re in serious.
15. Know what you want and what you’ll pay. Do this ahead of time and don’t get talked out of it.
16. Don’t be afraid to name your price. The store has already named theirs – it’s on the price tag – so go ahead and throw a number out there. The worst thing that could happen is a NO, but if they budge, even a little, you know you’re on to something.
17. Think outside the box. Regular retailers, yard sales, and flea markets aren’t the only places you can haggle. Try it at beauty shops, farmer’s markets, and with service providers (lawn care, pest control, etc).
18. Haggle to prevent price increases. If your dry cleaner announces an increase in prices, let him know you can’t pay that much, the same for your barber or your babysitter.
19. Never give too much information. The less they know, the more leverage you have. They don’t need to know that dishwasher is the only one that will fit your kitchen layout.
20. Know when to stand your ground. Close your salesperson by asking, “What do you think about $X price?” “You can close this deal right now if I can pay $X.”
21. Speak their lingo. “Deal breaker”, “what I need you to do today,” “close this deal” all are sales phrases and lingo. Just tailor it to fit your haggle persona.
Haggling isn’t new, just new to us. When I spent a summer in Guatemala, I was exposed to haggling from the perspective of a 50+ year old senora who told me to feign interest in one item then browse a little and later ask about the thing I really wanted. Chances are, the price will be less than you think.
On a recent trip to Cozumel, my daughter asked a shopkeeper how much an item cost. The price tag said four dollars but she didn’t see it.
“How much is this?” my daughter asked.
“Four dollars,” came the reply just as a very loud truck drove by.
“Four dollars?” my daughter asked, not sure if she had heard accurately.
“Okay, okay, only three,” the shopkeeper cringed.
My daughter “got her haggle on” after that!