Jeanette's Tips for Negotiating
Haggling is simply questioning if the price is final and then negotiating for a lower price on the spot. It’s important to feel confident and not feel embarrassed. Also you must remember not to be pushy, rude or aggressive.
You need a clear plan of action so you’re focused and calm.
-Tell the salesperson that you checked or will check their competitor’s prices for that same product. Bring in coupons or ads from competing stores as better leverage
-Look at reviews like Yelp before shopping to see if other consumers posted how they got a deal at that store. You can use this as leverage. “I saw that this is what you offered other customers, can you honor this deal for me too?”
-Make a personal connection with the salesperson – when I went for the first time to buy my furniture the sales person was Italian, talked about our kids and I’ve been buying my furniture from her ever since! It’s like we’re friends, but originally I just went it. It’s the “Sofa Outlet” store in San Mateo.
-Bottom line: “kill with kindness.” Being rude NEVER works. They don’t have to give you a deal, make them want to. And NEVER threaten a bad review.
These are the companies that can’t afford to lose your business because your dollars are a monthly commitment, not a one-time sale (like shoe shopping!).
-When buying a cell phone: check to see if any of the credit union companies you work for or groups you belong to offer discount plans. Ask the sales person to look up your company for any discount plans. Also, AAARP, AAA, being a veteran or a student. For example, if you’re a teacher you get a discount on all clothes at Banana Republic!
-If the salesperson can’t offer you a “deal” per se, ask to be transferred to the customer retention department, which is the group that has the ability to retain you by giving you a bunch of free deals. I have called my cable company and said, “Look, I’m happy with you guys, I like the service but company X is offering me $20 less/month. I need a better deal to stick with you guys. You know and I know that customer acquisition cost is hundreds of dollars, it makes sense for YOU guys to keep me as a customer. So what can you do to offer me this plan for less money?” They lowered my rate by $40/month and threw in Showtime and HBO for FREE!
-MAJOR tip: Never ask yes/no questions like, “Can you give me a cheaper plan?” You’re bound to get a flat no. Make sure to ask leading questions.
Furniture is one area that usually has room for play. Independent stores especially have the ability to work with pricing.
-At the very least, negotiate free delivery or an upgrade of fabrics or woods
-Another great trick: seek discounts for cash. Offering to pay with paper instead of plastic eliminates transaction fees sellers are required to pay to credit-card companies.
-Find flaws. Retailers are likely to offer discounts on products with blemishes or slight defects/scratches. It’s generally easier to negotiate such deals with independent stores than with chains and for private-label products than for big brands because sellers can’t return flawed products to their makers for credit.
If you’re going away for a special occasion or event (birthday, anniversary, etc) be sure to let them know. Many times they will upgrade you. In fact, when booking ask them to put you on their “upgrade list.”
-See if the hotel is part of a group where you can get points. If they are, let them know you’re willing to join their “club” and ask if by doing so you can get an upgraded room or discount.
-Comparison sites are especially helpful with hotels. You can get several quotes form nearby hotels and ask them to match their competitors.
-Always call the hotel directly, you will have a batter chance of getting a deal by speaking to a person and being friendly!
Follow Jeanette on Twitter @JeanettePavini