While many people are happy to look at a price tag and pay the price listed others love how to haggle and try to get a good deal. Whether it is a big box retailer, real estate or buying cars many of us could do with some lessons in how to haggle.
We begin by looking at defining the process of haggling. To “haggle” is to engage in the art of bargaining. This is a form of negotiation in which the buyer and seller of goods or services debate the price and conditions of the consequential transaction. If the bargaining process produces agreement then the transaction generally concludes with a sale. This process also represents an alternative pricing strategy to the usual fixed pricing on barcodes and price labels. Thesaurus describes the art of haggling as “an instance of intense debate while bargaining over something desirable”.
1. General Rules of Haggling
Guidelines rules are useful, but every rule has an exception. In the real world, a no-holds barred policy comes into play when it comes to a willing buyer /willing seller exchange. When you spot something you really fancy, be prepared to haggle or suffer later when you discover that the words “rip off” may in fact apply – a situation none of us really appreciates. If you are dealing locally, the ground rules of haggling should be clear to both sides, so if you do not have a feel-good factor, back off and walk away.
Operating internationally is completely different and is down to different cultural drivers in play. Research the other party’s culture before setting off, and try to understand how thing work on the other side. Always be fair and polite and never rude and insulting. Keep in mind that suppliers of goods and services are just as keen as you are to conclude a great deal. Be prepared to haggle all the way though to making your purchase.
2. Complete your Research
Ask yourself an honest question: how much do you have to spend. Answering this helps you to set your budget and your mission is to haggle to secure a deal that offers the best possible value for that amount of money. The next step is to research the product you want to buy – it could also be a service. Each product has its own special features but you need to decide if you really need the “extras” – why pay for features you may never use. Shop around and find the product you think will best suit your needs and budget. Find out how much you can buy it for from other sources, including online retailers, where “special offers” abound.
3. Engage the Salesperson
Communication is a two-way street so open the dialogue with a warm and friendly greeting. It could be over the internet, phone or face to face, the latter providing the best negotiating opportunity. Build a rapport with the salesperson, asking them for their first name is a great way to start. Once you know their name, drop it into the conversation – everyone likes to hear their own name! Introduce a little banter before starting the important business of haggling. Think of this as breaking the ice and try to have fun while you are doing so, because the object of the exercise is to bag a great deal during the bargaining process.
4. Avoid Haggling Too Soon
Patience is a virtue, so do not be in too much of a hurry to conclude the deal. Try to avoid discussing the price in the first couple of minutes and allow the salesperson to settle into the conversation. Find out more about the product you want to buy. The salesperson will be keen to impart their knowledge so let them do what they are trained to do, even if you actually know more than they do! Then it is time to let them show you the product item and they may be able to offer a higher discount on a certain model because it does not feature the latest enhancements. If you do not need the new features, the chances are good that you could haggle a good deal on the older model, resulting in a win/win situation.
5. Stand your Ground
If it seems the sales pitch is too swift or slick and you feel they are trying to steamroll you into a deal simply because that product will earn them the most commission, make the sales party aware. In other words, stand your ground and keep firing questions at them. See how much the salesperson really knows about what they are trying to sell you. Remain in control of the negotiations by making sure you, not they, are in control of the haggling. Do not be rushed into parting with your money, for to buy in haste can mean repenting at leisure, which is not clever.
6. Sage Advice
Each of us loves a bargain and haggling is the best way of securing something you really want, but at a fair price. Each time you haggle successfully builds confidence for the next negotiating session. One final word or two of advice: if at first you do not succeed, rather withdraw from the bartering process. You can bet your bottom dollar that the seller will end up just as unhappy about what did not transpire (and will be back).