1. Where to haggle
Think about where and how to haggle. Haggling may only apply to certain stores or items. You wouldn’t haggle with the cashier when you are buying a loaf of bread. However, on big-ticket items such as cars, TVs, and computers, haggling is perfectly acceptable, especially in the current recession! I’m sure the sales people want to take your money… so help them to do so!
2. Come armed with facts
You need to have an understanding of the value of the product before you start to bargain on the price. Do your research first, check the internet, read books in the library, etc. If you know what you are talking about, you’ll have a stronger bargaining position.
Figure out how much the product is worth, and set a maximum price in your head. Plan not to go any higher than this level.
3. Choose your time
Visit the store at a quiet time period. Don’t go on a busy Saturday afternoon when the sales rep might not be able to spend a lot of time negotiating. Perhaps make your visit on a quiet Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. Also, consider the time of the month – it might be better for you to visit the store towards the end of the month, when the sales reps will be struggling to meet shortfalls on their targets.
I recently purchased a used car from a local car dealer. I visited on a Wednesday afternoon, it didn’t seem to be a very busy time. The sales rep had plenty of time to devote to me and my needs.
4. Be confident
Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount and to start the negotiation process. They’ve heard it all before, but just be courteous and friendly when you are haggling. You don’t have to do all the talking – don’t be afraid to be quiet. If they make you an offer, be silent… see what happens. They might drop the offer even lower.
The car dealer made me an offer, I didn’t comment, didn’t mention my feelings, just waited to see what would happen. Eventually, I told the dealer that if he knocked a further $300 off the offered price, I’d sign up that day. He agreed! In the end, I saved about $2000 on the marked price of the car – I was over the moon!
5. Ask for a manager
Some sales people do not have the authority to offer you any discount. Simply ask to see the manager who might be able to sort you out. Often, managers have more power and control over deeper discounts.
6. Consider alternatives
A cold hard discount isn’t the only thing you can haggle for. Perhaps you could haggle for freebies or upgrades on your purchase. For example, if you’re buying a new notebook PC, maybe ask if they will throw in a laptop bag, a free webcam, or a wireless mouse.
You should be willing to walk away, with your cash in your pocket. If the sales person’s offer has not met your expectations, simply leave. You can always try haggling another day. Remember, you are in a strong bargaining position, you call the shots.