The Art of Negotiation ~ Part One

The Art of Negotiation

Most Americans think that negotiating is something reserved for car purchases, job offers, and garage sales.  You won’t hear a lot of people say, “I love to negotiate and haggle over prices!”  This makes me sad, because we’re leaving a good amount of money on the table when we don’t negotiate. If you’ve traveled to other countries, you’ll know that they love to haggle and negotiate.  In fact, merchants in other parts of the world might be offended if you don’t try to negotiate with them.  Before I tell you how to negotiate your way to a fatter wallet, I first need to bust a few myths.

Myth #1 – “Negotiating is conflict, and I don’t like conflict.”  Somehow, as a culture, we’ve framed negotiating as a combat sport, which it isn’t.  Negotiating is simply asking for a better value than what’s offered on the price tag.

Myth #2 – “When you negotiate, there’s a winner and a loser.”  It is possible for both parties to feel good about the deal!  We’ll talk about how to create a win-win deal.

Myth #3 – “Negotiating is hard.  It’s just easier to shop around for the best price.”  Once you know the basics, negotiating is easy!  In fact, you might even grow to like it.  Plus, time is money! Who wants to spend all day driving around (wasting gas) to different stores to score a deal?

Negotiating is simply asking for a better price or additional benefits and features.  If you DON’T ask for a discount, the answer is already “NO.”  If you don’t ask, you’ve already lost.  So you really have nothing to lose by asking!  Here’s how to ask:

  •     “Is this price firm?”  If the answer is yes, then you know the sales person isn’t open to negotiating a discount.
  •    “When will this item go on sale?”  If it’s in a few days, they may be able to give you the discount now, or hold the item for you until the sale starts.
  •   “Are there any coupons available?” I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many times the salesperson will reach behind the counter and pull out a coupon for me to use.  They may also tell you there is one on the website, which you can pull up on your phone and scan for a discount.
  •   “Can you give me a cash discount?” Due to the rising cost of credit card processing fees, many businesses are offering cash discounts. 

Do you use any of these negotiating strategies on a regular basis?