Have you ever gone to a restaurant, looked at the menu and said: “I don’t value the chicken wings at $11, but I can buy it for $10” Sounds absurd, isn’t it? You’ll be surprised at what can happen when you just try things.
When I took negotiations class last year, first thing we were taught was “everything is negotiable” and that opened a lot of possibilities. We usually don’t think about it in day-to-day life and our mind goes towards negotiations mostly when evaluating a job offer or buying a house. I personally have negotiated (and had luck getting prices down) at gift shops, tailor shop, parking spots, and even at Costco to name a few instances.
Next time when you’re buying something, keep an open mind and try to negotiate: the worst thing that can happen is you’ll pay the full price, which you were going to anyways.
Here are some tips that can help:
- Remember some people have more authority to bring prices down than others: for example: at a grocery store, manager can do much more than the person at the checkout counter can; a lot of times, you’re probably not talking to the right person
- Consider the bigger picture: It’s relatively easier to get refund for bank account maintenance fee because on a broader level, they value the relationship. I’ve had an instance where I was getting a car loan check from my credit union and I needed it urgently: the agent said they charge $15 for expedited delivery which can’t be waived. When I talked to her manager, it was waived immediately and I got the check next day. (this also shows the importance of talking to the right person)
- Know what others are offering for the same item: If someone else is offering a better price for a TV, there are good chances that the store you’re at will match it even if they don’t advertise price match (look for prices online)
- How much do you value a product or service: One time, at a gift shop, I said I’ll buy this only if I get it for $3.99 (I tried that just for fun; original price $5.99) and sure enough, I got that price
- Know your walk-away price: If there is a counter proposal, for example, the other person says he/she can’t discount that much but could do little less. You have to make a decision quick on whether you want that product – since it’s not an official discounted price, you probably won’t get it if you come back later. At Costco, I asked for discount for a vacuum cleaner (long story why I asked) and was offered 10% off after talking to the manager. I knew that I wanted the vacuum even at the full price, so I gladly said yes for 10%
- Consider the situation to identify opportunities: Last year I was at a beach and it was starting to rain (I needed to be there anyways for something else); while I was parking my car, I was able to negotiate the parking fee saying if it rained hard, he won’t even be getting what I was paying.
Remember, you’re not going to succeed at everything and that’s okay (sometimes I just ask to see what the other person says). In the long run you get better at it and small things add up.
Let me know, in comments, if any of the above helps you save your hard earned money!