Price haggling is not just for people who buy cars or houses. Think bigger. You can negotiate just about any product or service – your cable and cell phone bills, your credit card interest rates, even your rent. You just need to borrow these proven methods from savvy negotiators.
Talk less, listen more. Ask open-ended questions rather than ones that might give a blunt yes or no answer. A common mistake is to ask, “Do you have flexibility? Says Kwame Christian, director of the American Negotiation Institute and author of Finding Confidence In Conflict: How To Negotiate Anything And Live The Best Life. Instead, ask, “How flexible do you have?” This kicks off the conversation with the assumption that there is always leeway. You will find out how much room there is by listening more and speaking less. This allows the other person to reveal more information that you can use to close a good deal.
Know when to walk away. Before trading, research market conditions and prices. Sellers of products with a high profit margin and short shelf life typically have more flexibility in pricing – think seasonal items, perishables, and consumer electronics that are quickly updated and obsolete.
Consider what the deal looks like on the other side. What are the obstacles to the deal, and what might make the seller reconsider? If your offer is rejected, ask, “Is there a price you would accept?” The best negotiators stand firm, so practice saying no.
Launch a charm offensive. Studies show that when people do business with someone they love, they are more inclined to cut the price. So introduce yourself by name; ask for the name of the clerk. If you realize you have to talk to a manager to get a discount, promise to put a note in favor of the person who helped you. You can increase the charm by empathizing with the other person’s position. If possible, when negotiating, focus on your tenure as a client and educate yourself about options for lower fees, better rates, or improved terms.