Savvy shoppers know that paying full price is rarely the way to get a bargain. And whether you are in America, China or western Europe, the quest for a good deal often requires some haggling. Unfortunately, haggling has become something of a lost art in modern society. An entire generation has grown up believing that haggling is awkward, uncomfortable and inappropriate. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The key is to educate yourself on which forms of haggling are customary and acceptable in the region of the world you are in. Below are seven time-tested haggling tips from countries around the world.
Forthrightly argue for a lower price
In the United States more than perhaps anywhere else, it is normal to state your reasons and frankly request a lower price on the purchase in question. New or used car negotiations are typical in this regard. The sharpest of car buyers do several days or even weeks of research before stepping foot into a dealership. Once they arrive knowing everything from the invoice price of the car they are considering to the dealer’s profit, they can proceed to confidently push for the price they want, challenging fees and haggling for extras (like heated seats or premium sound) along the way. Furthermore, none of this is seen as inappropriate by the dealer – it happens all the time. Similar purchases that can be haggled down in this manner include real estate, apartment rent, legal and accounting services.
Accept throw-ins for the original price
In other countries, haggling is done via different methods than straightforwardly challenging the sales price. In China, for example, eHow states that you should express displeasure with the price being offered using body language such as wincing. Then, once the merchant is aware that you are having reservations, they will attempt to negotiate. But rather than agreeing to sell an item for less, Chinese merchants tend to hold firm at their asking price while offering to throw other goods into the deal. You are then free to either buy the item at its original price with the freebies merchants throw in, or walk away and seek a better deal elsewhere.
Find the right store or person
Japan has a rich history of haggling. Osaka, in particular, is “a city built by merchants” where haggling is “a time-honored practice”, according to the New York Times. The key to successful haggling in Japan is to limit your haggling attempts within stores that are amenable to engaging in it. You will frequently find that major, western-style establishments (such as high-end retailers) have little patience for haggling and could even be offended by it. Instead, focus on small shops where you are likely to deal with the owner or someone with the authority to negotiate with you on price. Be advised also that in Japan specifically, not all regions of the country are as open to haggling as Osaka is.
Feign a lack of interest in the product
Often, the person who successfully haggles is the one who has (or is perceived to have) the most options. In countries such as Mexico, where deals are somewhat harder to come by, you can use this to your advantage. Vicki Hollet, for example, relays an instructive anecdote from a friend who took a trip to Mexico. When Vicki’s friend Chris decided that he wanted to buy a Mexican hammock, he did not, as he might do in America or Japan, stridently push or persuade for a lower price. Rather, he applied a little reverse psychology to shopkeepers by pretending that he was not interested in buying a hammock at all. Much to his surprise, this caused one shopkeeper to lower his asking price from 300 pesos to 100 pesos inside of five minutes. This suggests that feigning indifference or outright lack of interest in what you want can be an effective way of positioning yourself as the more powerful party in a price negotiation.
Pay cash in poorer countries
Another haggling strategy that works particularly well in poorer countries is to pay in U.S. dollars. BrazilTravelBlog.com, for example, notes that while bookstores and supermarkets do not typically negotiate in price, offering to pay in U.S. dollars can knock as much as 5%-10% off the price. The more expensive the item, the greater the potential discount to be had by paying cash. The reason is that the dollar is a stronger currency than than Brazilian Real (and the currencies of other poorer countries as well.) Before vacationing to such a country, do some investigating into what the exchange rate is between U.S. dollars and the native currency where you will be staying. If there is a lopsided difference, consider bringing more cash and try to haggle where appropriate.
Time your haggling
Another haggling tap that is effective in most nations is to haggle at times when you are likely to be more successful. Australian website eGarageSales offers the timeless example of negotiating lower prices at garage sales. If you show up early in the day, sellers have less of an incentive to come down on price because, they believe, there is an entire day remaining for someone else to come and pay full price. Instead, try showing up to the garage sale once more at the end of the day. By then, seller is more likely to consider taking what they can get for the item you want than banking on the uncertainty of getting their full asking price at some unknown future date.
Express interest, leave, then return with a lower offer
Haggling occurs more quickly in some countries than in others. F-OxyMoron.com explains that haggling on price in India, for example, resemble a slow dance more than a straightforward, open-and-shut negotiation. Instead of immediately proposing a lower price, customers are advised to appear indifferent about the item they are considering. Upon talking with the shopkeeper, you should then leave the store for a few moments (perhaps even a couple of hours.) Then, later on, you can return and offer a lower price for the item in question. In India, it is apparently common to repeat this process three or four times before settling on a price you find acceptable.
About the Author: Chris Bennett is a marketing director for Credit Loan. Credit Loan can help you understand and connect to a brighter financial future. Perhaps, you are looking for help with paying or obtaining credit cards or you need advice about bad credit loans. Creditloan.com has a surplus of online resources and many useful FAQs to help you on your way.