For some people, negotiating comes naturally. But if you’re not comfortable asking for a better price, the idea of haggling can be intimidating.
Not a self-assured negotiator? It’s worth working on your skills: 89 percent of people who haggle are rewarded for it at least once, with an average savings of $300, according to a survey from Consumer Reports.
If you want to negotiate the best deal on anything from a mattress to a new car, follow these tips.
1. Be reasonable and polite.
Some people shy away from negotiating because they don’t want to appear aggressive, but in reality, the most successful negotiators are polite and easygoing. Instead of marching into the car dealership with a list of demands, for example, be respectful to the salesperson. Don’t skip over the normal pleasantries and small talk.
It’s okay to be confident and straightforward. You might ask, “What’s the best you can do on the price?” Just don’t let strong emotions cloud your judgement or push you into impolite territory.
2. Shop around and do your homework.
Prices are often up for negotiation at gyms, major retailers, car dealerships, and even grocery stores. Many places offer price matching to beat competitors selling the same item at a lower price.
Go into the negotiation armed with information, including the price of similar items for sale at competing stores and an understanding of the market for the item you want to buy.
3. Be ready to walk away.
Buyers have the most power in a negotiation when they’re willing to walk away. If negotiations stall after haggling with a jeweler, you might thank the jeweler for their time and then leave. When you return, the seller could be willing to meet you in the middle.
Sometimes, the simple act of walking toward the door can motivate the seller to immediately lower the price.
4. Know when not to negotiate.
There are some situations when negotiation isn’t a good idea. If the stakes are low, you might not want to haggle—is it really worth negotiating a used lawn chair from $5 down to $3?
If you urgently need to buy something and you aren’t able or willing to shop around, don’t draw a hard line on negotiations. When you intend to buy the item regardless of your success negotiating, you don’t want to push your luck by haggling too aggressively.
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