Do you have a friend or family member who’s just known for something? The person who can sell anything, the hilarious storyteller, the expert negotiator? You know, that person who seems to always find a good deal or land a better price than anyone else? You always want to take them with you when shopping for big purchases to learn how they do it.
Luckily, there are some tips everyone can take with them when buying a home or used car, or find themself in any situation where negotiating skills can come in handy.
- Do Your Pre-Work: equipping yourself with knowledge is key. It’s easy to spot someone blowing hot air in a negotiation. By doing your research, you can instead speak knowledgeably about prices to justify your position and reasoning. It’s important to have an understanding of other competitors, availability and prices.
*Tip: some stores even do a price-match guarantee, so you could quickly get a better price just by doing your upfront research.
- Talk to the Right Person: even the best negotiator isn’t going to get anywhere if they are talking to the wrong person. Seek out or find the decision maker who has the authority to make a decision on behalf of the company.
*Tip: although the first person you talk to may not be the decision maker, it’s still an opportunity to build up some rapport. No matter what you are looking to negotiate, approach the situation with a level head and try to keep emotion out of it.
- Time it Right: timing can play a huge role when negotiating. Whether you take advantage of slower seasons, end-of-month quotas or seasonality of a particular industry, the key is to make your move when business may be slower and therefore, potentially more receptive to negotiating.
*Tip: check out our past blog on cyclical sales cycles to help guide you on better times of the year to purchase certain items.
- Consider Payment Method: paying cash instead of on credit can be a simple way to negotiate down a price tag. Similar to how gas stations offer a slightly discounted price for debit vs credit payment methods, the same can be true for other purchases if you ask.
*Tip: note stores can pay up to 3% in credit card transaction fees. Check if you can receive this amount discount by paying cash or debit.
- Get Creative on Bundling: negotiating can mean much more than just a price tag. Get creative on other benefits that are intriguing to you, such as add-ons, upgrades, warranties or even free shipping, delivery or installation. Every little bit helps, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
*Tip: employees are often allowed to provide these types of perks to customers since it helps foster loyalty without dropping the price. Don’t be shy asking what else they can do to help sweeten the deal for you.
- Offer to Write a Review: nowadays, a brand’s online presence can be just as important as their physical location. Reviews and customer testimonials are paramount in adding to its reputation.
*Tip: offer to write a yelp review or social media recommendation. Some businesses will offer a discount now or in the future for doing so.
- Listen: remember that negotiating is a two-way street. After you make an offer, stop talking and listen to what the other person says. Even if you encounter some awkward silence, it’s important to allow a response before proceeding.
*Tip: make sure you listen to what the other person has to say in response to you instead of what to say next. Negotiating can be as much about compromising than getting exactly what you ask for, so be sure to listen before responding to move the conversation along.
- Be a Good Person: negotiating doesn’t mean you need a dominant personality. In fact, being friendly and building rapport can be more effective to make a connection.
*Tip: go back to the basics, and try including a smile, make a personal connection, or crack a joke. We’re all humans and treating someone with respect goes a long way.
- Know When to Walk Away: remember you’re in the driver’s seat and can walk away and take your business somewhere else at any time. If you’re not getting anywhere, mention you’ll go check out a competitor to see if they can work with you.
*Tip: one rule of thumb is to ask three times. If this doesn’t get the job done, consider other options or go somewhere else.
- Practice: just like anything else in life, practice helps refine your skills – and negotiating is no different. Instead of quickly accepting an offer or settling for a deal, consider if there’s more you’d like to get out of it.
*Tip: negotiating doesn’t just relate to big purchase items such as homes or cars. Negotiating skills can be used at work, in your social life, relationships, you name it. By making a conscious effort to build your skills, you may notice benefits in other parts of life.
Negotiating is a skill that can be developed, practiced and even mastered. Although it may take you out of your comfort zone, remember we are all human and it doesn’t hurt to ask. Typically the worst that can happen is you are simply told no. So don’t take negotiating too seriously and even have fun with it. Before you know it, you may be the pro-negotiator everyone else is talking about.