July 08, 2008
| by Jennifer DeFeo
As gas prices go up, and money gets tight, it’s important to save a few extra bucks wherever you can, and that includes saving money on big ticket items like a TV or camera. By using the age-old practice of haggling, you can get a better price on the product you want. Popular big box electronic stores are accepting and even expecting people to haggle; and most would rather bring the price down than lose a sale. We talked to expert haggler, syndicated columnist, and author Mary Hunt (www.debtproofliving.com) to learn how to haggle successfully. Here you’ll find her top tips, as well as other tried and true haggling strategies.
1. Do Your Homework
“Before you walk into any store, do your homework. Research the going prices and decide what you’re willing to spend,” says Mary. Arm yourself with information, not just pricing but features as well. This will give you credibility as well as a bargaining edge. Research the models priced above and below the model you want, too. The more information you have the better bargainer you’ll be.
2. Shop During Off-hours
Don’t go on a Saturday morning when the store is packed with people. Go at 2:00pm on a Wednesday when there’s no one there. The salesperson can spend more time with you, and will be more motivated to make a sale since there are fewer opportunities during the day. Also, the manager, who typically needs to okay the lower price, is more readily available.
3. Keep Your Cool
When you walk in the door of the store, put on your poker face and contain your enthusiasm once you find your item. Don’t walk directly to it, walk around a little bit before you make your way to the product. Salespeople are watching.
4. Be Confident
Mary can’t stress enough the importance of having confidence when you walk in the store. Ask the salesperson simply, ‘Is this the best price you can do?’ She says that some stores have an unwritten rule that lets anyone in the store, not just managers, take up to 10% off an item. If the salesperson says they can’t go lower on the price ask: ‘Is there anything you can add to make the price more agreeable?’ You might be able to get free delivery, free installation, a free cable or case, or even an extended warranty.
5. Be Polite
Being polite, patient, and charming can go a long way to you getting what you want. Don’t bully the salesperson or threaten to walk out. He’ll be much more likely to give you what you want if he likes you.
6. Embrace the Silence
After you ask for something don’t say anything for awhile. This is a widely popular negotiating skill. When it comes to haggling, you’ll seem like you’re mulling it over, and the salesperson will try to fill the silence, hopefully with a deal.
7. Reveal Your Budget
There’s nothing wrong with saying you don’t have the money. If the TV you want costs $1800, tell them you’re on a strict budget and can’t spend more than $1600. Mary says “Some people will work with you rather than lose a sale all together.” However, if you do this, make sure you know the store’s layout and product offerings. If hanging right next to it is a cheaper TV for $1600, you might not get the deal. (This is why doing your homework is so important: If you’re presented with this problem, you can say you need a certain feature that only the $1800 TV has without skipping a beat.)
8. Get the Sale Price
If the salesperson isn’t budging, ask for the date of the store’s next sale, or if there are any special coupons.
9. Leave your Name and Number
If all else fails, write down your number and name, and say ‘I’m very interested in this TV but I’m only willing to pay $$$. Here’s my name and number and price I can pay, if at the end of the month you still need to sell this please don’t hesitate to call me.” Hunt says a surprising amount of people get phone calls in their cars, or the next day with an offer. Even though a salesperson doesn’t work on commission, there is usually some type of quota, or incentive program underway.
10. Walk Away
Be prepared to walk away and try again another day.
Feel free to give these haggling tips a try. You have nothing to lose and money to save. I’m going to venture out and give it a shot. I’ll let you know how I do.