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Verbal Dexterity: Talking the Talk » Blog Archive » Bargaining For Bread, CDs and Carpet

Bargaining For Bread, CDs and Carpet

Contrary to what you might think, everything is now negotiable.

Traditionally, in the consumer retail world, only certain product prices could be discussed, negotiated or haggled over with stores: items like cars, houses and jewelry. These days, everything is on the table…and the only thing stopping you is your shyness.

Whether you are talking about hotel rooms, clothing, electronics or just about any other product that you can imagine, here are some basic rules of bargaining that will help you get the best price:

  • Immediately establish your past/present/future relationship to the retailer (e.g., “I have been coming here for years;” “I came to you becuse others say that you are fair:” “I just moved in to the neighborhood and am looking for a store to give all of my fututre business.”)
  • Before you walk in, visit or research at least 2 other retailers selling the same thing (and bring in proof of their price quotes)
  • Offer to pay cash (credit cards cost a merchant more money in fees)
  • Explain how you can generate more business for the merchant (”I am President of the PTA and can get 75 people here to shop in the next week.”)
  • Note how long (if known and researched), a particular item has been sitting in the store
  • Offer to buy a larger quantity or team up with friends to buy together (”what is the price if we buy three couches?”)
  • Understand the supply/demand of the marketplace (if Nintendo Wiis are all the rage, you won’t get as great a deal)
  • Return to the store for other purchases and chat with the owner/head salesperson so that they remember you
  • Be polite, gracious and complimentary (Retailers appreciate pleasant, non-complaining customers)

  • Today’s Tip: Consider all purchases to be subject to negotiation. Sellers want to sell and buyers want a bargain. Try to find the secret “middle ground.”

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