Get That Discount: How To Negotiate A Sale

by Chris on March 27, 2013

If you get sticker shock from something you want but can’t afford, think again. Many prices are negotiable given the right setting, and you may be able to get what you want for less.

  1. Just Ask

Many people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about it, but negotiating a price really benefits both parties. A salesperson would rather make a sale at a lower price than none at all, and you get what you want for less. Practice your skills often to increase your comfort level. Garage sales and flea markets are a great place to start. Once you feel confident, go for a better deal on your next big-ticket item such as an appliance, electronic equipment, furniture, hotel stay or car rental. The simplest path to a discount begins by asking “Can you do any better on the price?”  You can also ask if any markdowns or promotions will begin soon, and you may be able to buy at that price if the seller fears you won’t make a second trip back later.

  1. Be Casual

If you really want a particular item, don’t let the seller know. Your willingness to decline an item if the price is too high gives you negotiating power. If the seller thinks you will pay a high price, he or she will insist on a high price. Give the impression that you are just browsing and picked up something that caught your eye.  Say “It’s nice, but I can take it or leave it.” Show hesitation about the purchase; a long pause as though you’re having difficulty deciding will usually push the seller to offer a better price or add something extra to the deal. If the seller doesn’t budge, do walk away. There’s a chance they’ll chase you to offer a better price.

  1. Knowledge is Power

Research the typical price for the item you want. Knowing the going rate enables you to spot the markup that less informed customers would pay without question.  You can also use a competitor’s price to negotiate. Retailers hate to see a sale walk out and take their business elsewhere, so knowing that a customer is already looking elsewhere gives them incentive to make the sale at a better price.

  1. Pay Cash

For an independently owned business, paying with cash instead of plastic could net a discount. Processing a credit card costs the business, and checks take time to clear along with the risk of a bad check. Cash is better than inventory, so the upfront payment also gives you negotiating power, especially if you have cash but are just a few dollars short of having the sticker price.

  1. Be Patient

Salespeople are trained to control a sale. Be friendly but firm and stay focused on the price. Negotiation takes patience, and the side with more of it will get the better end of the deal. If a salesperson says he or she doesn’t have the authority, ask for a manager.

Remember that grocery stores, discount stores and large chains may not be willing to negotiate price, so don’t waste your time and theirs. Be friendly and stay confident and you will be able to negotiate like a seasoned shopper in no time.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Arianne@bali thatch huts April 14, 2013 at 3:18 am

Funny how some sales ladies become pissed when some customers asks for discounts and sale. I remember my mom trying to cut off some price on the electric stove we bought just yesterday. It ws so funny. :)

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Grep June 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I know that guys are supposed to be better at negotiating, but this is an art form I still have not mastered. Whenever we need to haggle over price, I just put on a smile, shut my mouth, and let my wife work her magic. I don’t know if it because of her Southern charm, or what, but she has gotten us discounts on stuff I never would’ve dreamed was possible (How about braces? Yep, we got a sweet deal from our daughter’s orthodontist.)

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katemcbride June 19, 2013 at 10:27 am

I think the hardest part would be to stick to the price you are prepared to offer or perhaps just asking for a discount in the first place. Perhaps there is more of a culture of bargaining at a garage sale than in a High St. store but there is definitely room for negotiation regardless of the venue. Perhaps the most important thing to know is to use cash if you are trying to get a bargain and then practice the skills you have outlined here.

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kim June 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm

My husband will casually drop a “Can you do better on this price?” on every big purchase we make and he does it with a friendly smile. It works every time, even when it looks like they won’t budge, they eventually do give in. The last one was to have our driveway paved. The guy had just paved a driveway down the street and had left over asphalt in his truck. He stopped and asked if we wanted our driveway done. He quoted a full price and I told him it was too expensive, we have a long driveway. My husband and my husband haggled over the price. We got it for half the price since, as my husband pointed out to him, what was the guy going to do with the leftover asphalt anyway. Would have been wasted and at least he gets a few more dollars out of it.

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Happyflowerlady June 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I really enjoy negotiating for a price ! As long as you are not in dire need of the product, then you can work for the price you want, and not worry if you can’t get it that cheap, and just wait for the right bargain to come along. It may take longer, but you will get what you want at the price that you want, usually.
Some people are great to bargain with, and others are just the “not a penny less” type, and would keep something forever, before they will come down even a tiny bit on the price. When I go to a yard sale, I usually find something and ask the price, and then make an offer on it, just to see if this person will negotiate, and if their prices are going to be reasonable. If they are willing to bargain, then I can happily shop around, but if not, I will usually just ask about something I am really interested in, or simply go to another yard sale, where prices are better .

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