Tag Archives: Bargaining

How to Haggle Like a Pro

When I first got out of college, I read the books, “You can Negotiate Anything” by Herb Cohn and “The Millionaire Next-door” by William D Danko.  Those books along with a penny pincer mentor/boss at IBM turned me into a lifelong haggler. My husband was not thrilled with my tight-wad ways when we were young…the hardest rule was NO NEW CARS. Buy used and drive them into the ground.  Now,  years later, with a recession, health costs, and twins heading to college, he recently told me how glad he is that we were so frugal over the years.

Negotiating guidelines:

  1. Master negotiators agree that negotiations should feel win-win. It is not a contact sport.  Be polite, friendly, and smile. Starting out as a hard-ass puts the other side on the defensive.
  2. Let sellers know you like them/their products/ philosophy or whatever creates a connection. For example, let them know you prefer to buy from local businesses or that you are a loyal customer.
  3. Point out flaws in the item you want. Look for the model with a scratch or dent.
  4. Use an app which scans barcodes and shows competitor’s prices and show the results to the seller or tell the sales person you checked competitor’s prices, such as RedLaser or Price Check by Amazon.
  5. Seek a discount for paying in cash.

Make it a part of your lifestyle to try to negotiate most things you buy.  Big hitters I have been successful with are: Cable rates (Tell them you want to speak to the retention specialist, NOT the first line call center people, tell them competitor’s prices and that you are ready to leave them), appliances, Medical or Dental fees, Cell phone plans, clothing, and the Farmer’s Market.   If I have people with me who want the same thing, like my kids, I will ask for a 3 for the price of 2 discount… “all I have is this $5 bill,”and smile smile smile. It works!

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