Bargaining was something I always avoided. I didn’t want to offend anyone.
The idea of haggling seemed as terrible as the word sounded.
Paying the asking price was more comfortable than talking about money, so that is what I always did.
Then a couple of years ago, I mentioned that I thought an apartment rent increase was too high. “No problem,” the agent smoothly answered, “that is just a starting rate.” Five minutes later, she lowered my rent.
It was so easy! I didn’t have to haggle back and forth. I just had to ask. I wondered what other savings I had missed out on because I had been too nervous to ask for a better price.
Doug negotiates with people all day long at work. Whenever we have to make a big purchase, it’s second nature for him to make a deal with the sales agent. He shared tips that help him get better deals than we even expect sometimes.
How to get a better deal:
- Ask. If you don’t ask, you’ll miss savings on rent, houses, cars, furniture, services, and any other big purchase. Salespeople talk about money all the time; they’re used to it, so don’t feel too shy to ask. Either they will maintain the original price, or they will lower it. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Establish yourself as a buyer. Say, “I want to buy this ___. What’s your best price?” If a salesperson thinks you’re window shopping, then he doesn’t have as much incentive to spend time with you to make a better deal. Let him know that if he comes down on the price, he’ll make the sale.
- Know the market. Learn competitor prices, options available, and seasonal demand. Make note of details, like when a leasing agent mentions an apartment has been vacant for three months, or when a salesperson mentions new inventory is coming in next week.
- Talk to the person who makes the decisions. This will be someone who understands operating costs, cash flow needs, and incoming inventory. They’ll be able to know what discounts they can afford with the big picture in mind.
- Shop midmorning or midafternoon. Those are the times a manager is usually present, and it’s not the end of the day when people are ready to go home.
- Ask for added value. Extended warranty, free delivery, and free installation are usually easy add-ons. You can also ask for discounts for the floor model or any minor condition issues.
- Be willing to walk away. Sometimes they’ll call you back, but if they don’t, you’ll find another opportunity.