Negotiating a better deal on the cost of services and prices was a fairly common practice in the past. With some effort on your part, negotiating can serve you the same purpose today. If you have never tried your hand at negotiating prices before, there is no time like the present to learn. Below are five secrets you can use to improve your negotiating and save yourself a lot of money.
Tip #1 — Be Informed
Before you can negotiate a price on a service or product, you need to know the going rate for these in the area where you live. This can be accomplished by comparison shopping online.
Say, for example, you need to buy a new set of tires for your automobile. By doing a search online, you can compare the cost of tires from three or four dealers in your area. A deeper search can even reveal the estimated markup or profit margin each of these dealers has for their products.
This information sets you up for knowing how to negotiate. With this knowledge, you are ready to approach the owners or managers of these dealerships to negotiate better deals.
Negotiating is a two-way street that benefits both parties. In the process of getting better prices for yourself, you need to show the company how they, too, will profit from the business deal. If negotiating will encourage you to become a regular customer, businesses will be more likely to agree.
If businesses feel you are only in it for yourself, your efforts are less likely to succeed. By negotiating with the right mindset and motivation, both parties benefit with positive and productive results.
Tip #2 — Use Price Matching and Discount Coupons to Your Advantage
The use of discount coupons is an excellent way of getting a lower price on the goods and services you need. Many stores honor both their coupons and that of their competitors as well. This gives you better bargaining power, as you are not limited to just one or two shops to get the discounted prices you desire. Some shops are even matching the competitive prices found online with sites like Amazon.com in an effort to expand their clientele.
By taking advantage of price matching and discount coupons, you can come out on top with fantastic bargains. Discount coupons are available for all types of merchandise today including food, clothing, furniture, electronics, computers, auto accessories, cosmetics, and more.
It may take you some time to cultivate the coupon habit, but once there, you can save thousands of dollars on top name brand merchandise every year. As the saying goes, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” This could not be truer for the smart shopper who is willing to learn new tricks to save valuable money.
Tip #3 — Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For The Discount
Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or lower rates for the products or services you need. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Most sales reps are able to bargain with their customers, especially on large orders. By inquiring about a discount or lower monthly rate, you open the floor for negotiations.
Tip #4 — When A Discount is Not Possible, Look for a Bonus
Some sales reps are not authorized to give discounts, but they can offer bonuses to potential customers in order to clench a deal. This is quite common in the business world.
Depending on the circumstances, you can ask what bonus they could offer you to go along with the purchase at hand. The bonus should be something you need to make it worth your while.
Take time to discuss options with your sales rep and see what he/she has to offer. Because of stiff competition, many companies are willing to take extra measures to attract new clientele.
Tip #5 — Seek The Manager When Necessary
In the event you get a sales rep that is unwilling to negotiate for lower prices or bonuses, you can always request to speak to the manager directly. This is a strategy you can employ whether your purchases are large or small. Simply explain to the manager you are a regular customer and would like a discount as a reward for your faithful patronage.
If the manager denies your request, you can ask him if he has the authority to give discounts. If the answer is yes, you can respond with something like:
“Oh, I see. You can give me a discount if you want, but you would rather not help me today.”
This obviously puts the manager in an awkward position, prompting him to then see what can be done for you so he won’t feel so bad or look like a jerk. This scenario can actually help you get some of your best deals.
Keep in mind that mutual courtesy and respect are key elements in any negotiation process. If you find yourself at a deadlock in getting the price you desire, you have two choices: give in or walk away.
Chances are there are other businesses in your area you can look into for better options. In walking away, however, never close the door behind you, just in case the original offer turns out to be the best deal after all.
These are but a few negotiating strategies you can incorporate into your buying process to get better deals. Negotiating is a great way to obtain top merchandise at great bargains and helps you save hard earned cash for your future.
About the Author:
Jynell D. Berkshire is the founding partner of Berkshire Law LLC, a real estate and business law firm in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ms. Berkshire is a seasoned real estate and business lawyer and serial entrepreneur who owns companies in energy and renewable energy consulting, information publishing, international trade, and real estate.
*Originally published as Issue #169 on February 22, 2013 and Issue #221 on October 2, 2013