Where Can You Negotiate?
While you shouldn’t walk into a major department store and give your lowest offer for a television, there are many fees and places where you can negotiate. Consider the following:
- Car purchase (as well as selling your car)
- Cable/Satellite Bill
- Phone/Cell Phone Bill
- Credit Card APR/Payment Plan
- Travel/Hotel Expenses and Packages
- Apartment Rent
These and other categories offer an excellent way to save money. Some of these can have a major impact in the short and long term, such as knocking off a thousand dollars on a used car, or a small amount on your rent.
The Golden Ticket to Negotiating: Options
Having options is perhaps the strongest negotiating tool available. After all, if you’re prepared to leave or go with another service/company, that is the way to make real progress.
Let’s take an example. Imagine that you’re trading in your car and purchasing a new one. Instead of walking into the dealership without getting an offer on your old car, and researching prices of new ones (not a good idea), you’ve done your research.
What’s the difference? If you know you can get an extra $1,000 at the used car dealership, and can purchase a new car that fits your specs online for a certain price, you have everything you need to make a deal. If they can’t beat it: move on.
Having options can make you aware of a good breaking point as well. You can speak honestly, directly, and have a pleasant attitude. If the company cannot beat what is offered elsewhere, then you can explore those options. Otherwise, you’re on your way to a decent price/situation.
Putting It Together
Along with having options, you should have a plan. Be courteous and be aware of other ways to get a discount or better deal on the item or service. Use the following strategies:
- Ask for a discount: Asking your mechanic about new/regular customer discounts is a great way to break the ice to simple negotiations. It will work just about anywhere, and is a great way to see of any discounts/packages/deals that are offered.
- Make a concession: If you’ve done your homework on similar apartments, and want to save – wouldn’t you have a stronger case if you mentioned staying long-term? In this example, many sites will offer a lower price for long-term renters. Long-term contracts, from your cable to cell phone bill, can open up opportunities.
- Ask for the customer retention specialist: You’ll find these at companies such as your credit card and cable provider. If you’re ready to go somewhere else, know your breaking point (the price you need to stay) and be honest about your situation (can’t afford it and have other options, for instance). There are normally a few offers; ask for them.
Speak open and honestly. While there are cases to hold cards close to you, so to speak, you can be real with the representative or person to which you are speaking. If you would really appreciate a better APR to stay with your credit card company, tell them that; they are aware that customers have options.
Along with these tips is the overriding theme: be prepared.
Once you are aware of prices and discounts that are available, you can often lower the price of the object at hand. These strategies will offer increased savings, and don’t require any deceit or arrive at negative connotations of “negotiating.”
Once you’ve done your research, you can plan for your course of action. Don’t be afraid to move on, if you don’t find the savings you need.