The Art of Negotiation – Anybody Can Do It!


How many times have you been frustrated after making a purchase, only to meet someone who made the same purchase for less?  How can you be “that person” who always seems to be able to stretch the budget by getting that great price?

NEGOTIATE! – It’s a lot easier than you think.

Most Americans are not accustomed to negotiating the purchase price of an item, in fact the very thought of negotiating makes us uncomfortable.  But when you realize that the rest of the world negotiates prices regularly, and there are real personal savings to be had, you begin to see the value in at least trying to negotiate your next purchase.

Here are some tips for getting started.

The primary rule you need to remember as a consumer is:  the seller wants to sell the item far more than you want to buy it.  It is a basic rule of the marketplace, and the entire reason retail stores exist!  Knowing this gives you a distinct advantage.

Guys Shaking HandsALWAYS ask to speak with the department manager or store owner.  These are the people who have the power to make decisions about lowering prices.

Know the true market value of the item.  Walk into the store knowing if another retailer is selling the same item for less, then ask for an additional 10% off for having to ask them to meet the other retailer’s price.  (This works best if you come “armed” with the ads from other stores showing the discounted price.)

Should you find an item has a small, almost imperceptible defect like a scratch, dent, stain or snag, point this out to the manager.  For a stain, call a dry cleaner and ask what the price is to remove the stain, then add a little onto that amount for time to determine a reasonable discount request.  Also, find out if the item is returnable should the stain not come out.

Paper or Plastic?

Although many merchants prefer plastic, it is still a good idea to ask for a discount when paying cash instead of using a credit card, debit card or check.  Retailers pay to subscribe to and use these financial services, so they save money when you pay in cash.  Therefore, you should pay less as well.

Another tactic is to remind the retailer of how often you shop at their establishment.  Mention some of the pricier purchases you have made.  Let them know that you don’t mind going to another retailer who is willing to show appreciation for your patronage by giving you a discount.

You can even negotiate at a restaurant.  They may offer a free appetizer or dessert instead of a discount.  This is another way for you to receive greater value for your money at little to no additional cost to the restaurateur.

Almost Anything Can Be Negotiated

JacketsYou may be able to negotiate discounts of 5% to 75% by applying these rules to clothing, furniture, room air conditioners, microwave ovens, clothes washers…even cars!

Try it.  The real fun part:  once you start, you may not be able to stop!  It is addictive to feel empowered as the consumer, and walk away with a little more change in your pocket.  The worst that can happen is for the retailer to deny your request.  Just remember, nothing ventured – nothing gained!  So, go forth and NEGOTIATE YOUR NEXT BARGAIN!

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