Since we’ve been on the subject of haggling for a better deal, I thought I’d highlight some lessons from an old article that I recently ran across. As much as you might hate haggling, you can save a great deal of money by doing it.
For starters, approach it from the right perspective:
“People equate negotiating with arguing,” says Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and author of Getting to Yes. “But if you view it as a discussion of joint interests, you’ll be more likely to put fair terms on the table and find common ground.”
Next, try one or more of these five magic lines:
- “Hmmm, I don’t know…” Indecision and silence are your friend. Let them know that you’re on the fence and you might just get a better deal.
- “Help me spend my money here.” Big ticket prices are almost always negotiable — if you’re talking to the right person. Find that person and ask.
- “Your rivals can do it for less.” Use their competition against them. If their competitors can afford to charge you less, then so can they.
- “I feel like I was tricked.” If you’ve been misled in any way, use it to your advantage. Doing so can only improve your leverage.
- “But you broke your promise.” Always be sure to hold to hold them to whatever promises they’ve made during your negotiations.
Or you could just fall back on one of my personal favorites:
“Is that the best you can do?”
Try it sometime. Say those seven words, and then just wait. As awkward as the resulting silence might seem, it’s even more uncomfortable for your adversary. The ball is now in their court, and nothing more will happen until they respond.
And one final tip… If you’re negotiating a major purchase, you might want to take a few notes during the course of your discussion. Doing so will not only help keep you from getting flustered, but it will also gives you something to fall back on if the final details don’t match what you talked about.
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