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London - It’s never been more important to save every penny. And anyone who has been to a market on holiday will know that haggling is part of shoppers worldwide.
So, Victoria Bischoff went to negotiating school - a day-long series of lessons hosted by industry experts - to discover the seven steps to get big discounts in major stores.
1: WE’RE PROGRAMMED TO SAY YES
Within seconds of starting her seminar, Dr Sandi Mann, an expert in social psychology, had a £5 (about R90) note, mobile phone and watch in her grasp.
She’d asked the pupils for the items and we’d willingly handed them over to her without even stopping to question why.
Lesson number one: people just love to say “yes” - saying “no” is awkward. So, if you ask for something with enough confidence, you are very likely to be given it.
And you don’t even need to give a good reason. A study found that when shoppers asked to push into a queue, 94 percent of the time the person in front simply stood back and let them in - even when they gave a silly reason such as: “I just need to buy these things.”
2: SECRET DISCOUNTS DO EXIST
“It is possible to get a 10 percent discount in almost every store,” says retail expert Tarlok Teji, of Manchester Business School, who spoke at the event run by webuyanycar.com.
There is normally a handsome mark-up built into the profit margins of most stores, though it is harder to get this cut down at High Street chains.
But most already offer staff and students 10 percent discounts - which shows they do exist. And prices in major stores can vary wildly.
To get a discount, it is crucial to ask the right people. Find the store manager or department supervisor - they will be the ones who have the discretion to negotiate.
If you’re trying to haggle for a better mobile phone or insurance deal, you need the “retention team”, not customer service. To reach them, threaten to leave unless they match the deal you want.
And think about your timing. Car dealers, for example, have monthly targets, so go hunting the last weekend of the month.
Remember that you are in the position of power: the shops’ money is tied up in stock and they need your cash to pay the bills.
3: BE CONFIDENT - NOT ARROGANT
Don’t strut in - be friendly and open. The aim is to build a good relationship.
Like most people, shop assistants want to be liked, so the friendlier you are, the better your chances of getting money off.
Watch their body language. If they nod their head, lean forward and make eye contact, they are engaged. Beware if they lean back, look tense and keep averting their gaze.
Mirror the seller’s movements by copying how they stand and what they do with their hands. But don’t be obvious. Speak confidently and avoid powerless language such as “don’t you think?” and hesitant sounds such as “um”. Never argue.
4: GOOD COP/BAD COP
The old good cop/bad cop routine can be very effective. The idea is that you work with someone else as a team. One of you raves about the item to show you are interested, the other points out faults to drive a bargain.
You don’t both have to be there in person, one of you could be on the phone. You can pretend, by saying: “Sorry, my husband really doesn’t think I should pay that much.” Or you can do the good cop/bad cop routine on your own simply by appearing keen, then expressing uncertainty.
Beware of the seller using this tactic on you by saying something like: “I’d love to give you a discount, but my manager won’t let me.”
5: RESEARCH IS KEY
Check the internet before you go to find out if the item is cheaper anywhere else or online. See if the store will match the price or even offer you a little extra discount. Martin Chrimes, an independent financial adviser, adds: “Don’t be afraid to play different stores off against each other.”
If you see an advert for a bargain, call ahead to check that it is still on offer. And be prepared to walk away if the seller can’t give you the discount you want there and then. They could ring back with an offer.
6: DON’T GET EMOTIONAL
Do not get attached to an item. When you go to buy a car, the salesman will try to get you into the driving seat as quickly as possible so you fall in love with the smell and feel of it. They want you to forget about the proper checks.
Getting emotional makes you more vulnerable to “limited-time only” offers - these are rarely genuine.
Don’t appear too keen. Like a poker player, you need to hide tell-tale signs that suggest you are - so stay still.
Don’t feel sorry for the stores and don’t listen to their sob stories - you aren’t going to put them out of business if you don’t buy.
Experts say stores which let you haggle build the best relationships and gain the repeat business.
7. SILENCE IS GOLDEN
Most people find a gap in conversation awkward. Don’t be the one to break it.
Stay quiet and let the seller chatter - they might offer a discount just to break the silence.
Don’t commit to anything. If the seller asks: “Do you like it?” don’t say yes - that just puts pressure on yourself.
Also, never reveal what your budget is or the seller will know to what figure you are prepared to go. - Daily Mail