Ten Pointers to Successful Haggling

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Bargains, Frugality, haggling, Uncategorized

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To build off my last post on how haggling builds confidence, I’ve decided to get you started on the right track by including 10 pointers for haggling.

  • The more you buy, the more of a discount you can get.  Mary and I went shopping for a new TV for her parents at Best Buy, and I allowed them to sell us more stuff because they could discount other items more.  All in all, her parents bought a 46″ LCD, a 26″ LCD, a PS3 (Blue Ray player), a sound bar (If you can’t have wired surround sound, this is the next best thing), and an HDMI cable (DO NOT BUY MONSTER CABLES.  They are a rip off, I don’t care what the salesman tells you.  If you need cables, go to www.monoprice.com or look up blue jean cables).  All in all we saved about $1000 because I was able to haggle and bundle with extras.
  • Talk to the manager. Some stores are giving employees the power to knock off 10% or so, especially in the current economy, but it’s still better to haggle with a manager.
  • Ask what you might think are stupid questions.  Even if there are no sale signs posted, ask if there is a sale going on, when a sale will be going on, or if there is a sale price they can give you.  It allows a good entry into haggling.  They may tell you that the item will go on sale next week so it might be best to wait, but that gives you leverage to ask them to discount it now.  It also breaches the subject of a discount nonchalantly.  If they discount it or give you a “sale” price, ask them if they can do better!  I asked the manager at Best Buy 3 different times if he could do better, and on the 3rd time he finally said no, he couldn’t, the computer wouldn’t let him discount it any more.
  • Look for floor models or imperfections.  Mary and I were at Crate and Barrel looking for things for our new house and we found a lamp we liked that was a floor model and had a scuff.  I asked the questions in the previous step, and she said she could give us 20% off for a ‘damaged’ item.  The item is by no means damaged, and we knew we could get the scuff out, so we said great!
  • Ask if there are any discounts or coupons that you could use.  Many stores have mailers that contain coupons, and most have them behind the counter to scan to help entice you into buying.  If you don’t ask you won’t know.
  • Let them know that you usually shop there. Customer loyalty is a huge plus!  The woman I haggled with for my running shoes was obviously more willing to talk discounts after I mentioned that my current shoes were purchased from one of their other stores.  She then pulled out a mailer coupon to give me a discount!
  • Be likable.  Last summer when Mary and I were working on our current place of residence I needed paint and paint supplies so I went to Sherwin Williams.  The salesman was younger and I was cracking jokes.  When I got up to the counter, I half-jokingly said “are there any: I just graduated from college, moved cross country, don’t have a job, and am about to get married discounts?”  He laughed, and said absolutely.  He gave me 30% off!  Also, don’t be pushy.
  • Walk Away.  If you aren’t getting the deal you want, don’t be afraid to walk away.  This advice is particularly good to use on hungry car salesman, but car buying is a whole other beast.
  • Offer Cash.  Cash is a huge bargaining tool.  It shows that you are serious and ready to buy, it also means a great deal to smaller shops.  Small shops will be more inclined to discount your product(s) more if they know you will pay cash.  There is nothing worse than discounting a product and then seeing another 2-3% of the purchase price go to credit card processing fees.  Don’t worry about your precious credit card points when you haggle, just worry about price.
  • Research.  If you aren’t sure about a product get the salesman’s card go do your research and come back.  Also, see a related post: Secrets of a Bargain Hunter.

These tools will most likely allow you to get some good discounts.  Use these pointers wisely, and always be prepared to buy when you get a discount, if you get your price and decide not to buy, it could discourage the salesperson from coming down in price for the rest of us!

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7 comments

  1. FormerGenius

    “Be likable” is HUGE. As a former employee at an Apple retail store who (along with many coworkers) had a LOT of latitude to give discounts, freebies, etc. I can’t emphasize enough how many people BLEW it by being coming in with bossy and abusive attitudes. They left angry and with a still-broken ipod when they could have just cooled off, smiled, and left happy with a brand new one for free.

  2. danielb

    Thanks for the post. I completely agree. By being likeable I had a genius hook me up with a free replacement battery and charger for my powerbook after the warranty was out! :)

  3. Sarah Buser

    Hey Daniel,
    Great site! I’ve been reading it my whole lunch hour and I recommended it to my coworkers.
    I read this article on glennbeck.com the other day (http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/20643/) about the Seven Golden Words. I’ve only tried it twice, once on a credit card rate for work and once yesterday at a jewelry store, and it didn’t work yet, but I really like the idea of it as an approach to haggling that won’t make me feel like a jerk. Anyway, thought you might appreciate it. Keep up the good work!
    Sarah

  4. Daniel

    Thanks Sarah! I was actually able to call the company that our auto loan is with and negotiate down our rate by 75 basis points just last week! And I didn’t even have to fill out any paperwork. That 5-10 minutes of haggling easily saved me over $300 in interest!

  5. Michael J Long

    Hi, perhaps our posting is off topic but anyhow, Having been surfing around your blog and it seems genuinely professional. It is obvious that you know the subject and you appear passionate about it. I

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