Save money by negotiating! I don’t think people understand just how negotiable many costs are. From getting a pesky credit card fee removed to paying with cash or a check at your dentist, negotiation is a happy part of daily life. Here are some tricks and advice on how to negotiate a price or dispute.
DISCLAIMER: Do not try to negotiate on fixed costs or costs that are already reasonable – these are tips to be used in fair negotiations!
Have a set goal beforehand. The first trick of the trade is know what exactly you are willing to pay/sell for. Research reasonable prices beforehand, and keep to that number. For example, if you want to only pay $25 for a rug that you found on Craigslist, make sure you 1) know of stores that offer rugs for less than $25, 2) know that $25 is a reasonable price, and 3) clearly let any potential seller you want to purchase from know that you are looking for a rug at $20-25. Simply knowing that you can get the same item elsewhere completely negates the “Oh boy, I really love that and gotta have it” aspect.
Offer a slightly lower/higher price initially. Starting a bit higher or lower gives you wiggle room. Be willing to compromise – negotiations are all about give and take on both sides to see eye-to-eye.
ABC – always be closing! For instance, if you trying to have a fee removed from a bill, as soon as you get the representative on the line let them know you are calling because that fee needs to be removed. Let them know how long you have loyally used their service, and how much you want to continue on with their service – given this fee is removed. Let that provider know clearly that when this fee is removed, there will be no further concerns – close out your argument during the entire conversation!
Be confident. All too frequently I see a consumer get flustered by a salesman – just leave if you don’t want to agree to the proposed deal. Sometimes that alone will change their mind to agree to your terms. Be confident when you speak, and speak clearly. You have a reason to feel that what you are willing to pay is fair (you did research remember? Maybe even printed out competitor’s ads?). There is no reason to be mean, just be confident and clear.
Offer to pay cash. Carry cash for the amount you are looking to pay, and many suppliers will immediately cut 5-15% off almost anything to save on credit costs and have immediate cash in pocket. I was surprised recently to learn that my dentist takes 5% off any dental work if you pay cash and as far as he is concerned writing a check = paying cash.
Have someone else negotiate for you (speaking as you). This only works if you’re on the phone and believe it or not, this can work. My boss will not call a credit card company to dispute a charge but she is totally fine with me doing it. She has even asked me to call on her personal credit cards to find out why she is being charged extraneous fees, and ask to have them removed. I just call and say, “Hi, this is Boss Lady, what is this extra charge and how can we get it removed?” They have no way of knowing that I’m not actually Boss Lady. In order to do this successfully, you will need to provide the person calling for you with any information they may need to identify themselves as you. It also helps if you’re a woman, to have a woman make the call. The best option is to be right there when the person makes the call so they can get the information you will need on the fly. For example, that could be your mother’s maiden name, your social security number or date of birth. Since you are giving such personal and private information to someone else, I would only suggest having a very close friend who you trust implicitly do something like this.
Any negotiation success stories? How do you negotiate with others?