When’s the last time you asked a seller to reduce their asking price? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been a long time. In fact, maybe you’ve never done it.
“Haggling (bargaining) is common in some countries, such as China, Turkey and Egypt. If you don’t haggle, it is highly likely that you will get ripped off, because vendors expect a bit of haggling and state their prices higher than what they expect to receive.”
Why we don’t haggle
In general terms, many Americans are reticent to haggle. Why? I can think of a few reasons.
- Not a cultural norm. If you’re interested in saving more, you have to be prepared to step outside your comfort zone. Although haggling is a very normal and celebrated custom in some cultures… It isn’t a widely used practice here in the United States. Unless we’re purchasing a vehicle or a home, we typically pay the going rate without even thinking of asking for something better.
- Avoiding confrontation. Personality types can have a powerful effect on our willingness to confront a seller on the matter of price. For example: I’m not afraid of a little confrontation, and if I know I might get a discounted price, I see it as my duty to ask. My wife, on the other hand, would rather simply pay the extra cash than experience the social discomfort of confrontation. If you have a hard time with this concept, defer to your spouse, or work on improving your skills by practicing. You may surprise yourself!
- Embarrassment. We often overpay because we want to avoid potential embarrassment. But let’s get real here… A penny saved is (at least) a penny earned. While discounts are not worth anger or malice, they are most certainly worth a little embarrassment. I promise you’ll get past this quickly once you start saving money. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!
- Pride. Maybe you don’t think you need the discount. Maybe you don’t want people to think you’re short on funds. Maybe you’re just too cool. Maybe you just need to get over yourself. Seriously, rich people don’t get rich by paying full price. They find great deals, seek out opportunities to win, and usually land a deals that appeal to them. Don’t be proud… Start acting like a millionaire and go ask for a discount!
“We find what we expect to find, and we receive what we ask for.”
Tactics to employ when asking for a discount
Since so many of us are uncomfortable asking for a discount, I thought I’d share a few tips.
- Be courteous. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Put yourself in the salesperson’s shoes – how would you want to be treated? I could go on and on here, but I think you get the picture… Acting like a jerk is never the right thing to do. Many times you can make someone’s day just by being nice to them – once you win them over, you’ll be surprised just how far they’ll go to help you out.
- Flash cash. Don’t finance your purchases. Let me say that again… DO NOT finance your purchases! If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. If you have cash for your purchase, are educated about what you want, and know how much you’re willing to spend, then you’ll be in a position to buy what you need on your terms. I’ve recently made this change myself and it feels really good.
- Use the silent treatment. You may remember me giving a similar piece of advice for salary negotiation. The truth is, it works! This nifty yet rarely used trick works wonders in a myriad of situations. Properly applied, the strategy of silence when negotiating a price can deliver a lot of wins. This is one of my favorite tactics to use… right or wrong, I love to watch a salesman squirm!
- Use the phrase that pays. If you’re not happy with the price, simply asking “Is that the best you can do?” can work wonders. Put the ball in their court and see what they’ll do in the interest of winning your business.
- Be willing to leave without buying. If they can’t meet your price, walk. Period. Be ready and willing to exercise disciplined patience and take your business elsewhere.
- Understand who holds the power. You have the moneym and they are selling a product. Get the picture? Don’t just pull out your wallet and slap down the asking price… Take control of the buying process, and dictate your own price. Before you interact with the sales person, settle on the maximum price you are willing to pay for your item and never exceed that price.
“Ask and you shall receive. You must, yourself, do the asking. Mediocrity is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed.”
Go get started
Now it’s time to put these things into practice. If you don’t have cash on hand, open up a high yield savings account and start saving toward your goals.
From there, you just need to make a conscious decision to take control of your buying experience. Don’t worry… Haggling isn’t un-American.
What do you think?
Are you ready to start asking for discounts?
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