The art of asking for a discount, known as haggling is something every money saver needs to know how to do.
Have you ever walked into a store and seen something you want, really want for that matter, only to realise it is only marginally outside of your price bracket? Perhaps you know that the item isn’t worth the retail price, yet you really do need it. Or perhaps you know that elsewhere, the same product is much cheaper, however you want to buy it now.
This is the perfect time to step outside of your comfort zone and attempt to negotiate, or in easy terms, ask for a discount.
This is what I like to call haggling.
If you have never asked for a discount before, you may find it a real challenge. Whenever I go to haggle, I start to worry that the sales person will shut me down within seconds, look down on me or perhaps even tell me to ‘get out’. The reality however is that this will definitely not happen.
What many people fail to realise is that stores have the ability to compromise on price quite easily, quite often they have price match gaurentees or a strong desire to ward off competition of other nearby retailers that are competing for your money.
In fact, did you know that many stores behind the scenes actually hope that you do indeed ask for a discount as they fear the consumer who simply walks out with the ambition to buy elsewhere over just a few dollars.
So if you are interested in becoming better at the art of haggling to get a bigger discount, it’s time for you to read on.
You need to remember, it’s your hard earned money and the biggest mantra that I believe a money saver should abide by is; ‘don’t ask, don’t get’.
What is the worst that can happen? They can say no. What is the best that can happen? 30 seconds of haggling leads to a tonne of money saved. It’s time to haggle and here is how.
When haggling, tell them about their competitors
Have you ever heard the saying “Ask and you shall receive?” – remember this as it also applies to shopping.
Remember that businesses spend millions on advertising every year; they want you in their shop and will very rarely turn down a good offer that is marginally under the retail price they are tagging it at as they are aware you will just go to the competition.
Don’t be affraid to tell them you will go elsewhere to seek a better price. Often the fear of missing out (FOMO) will enduce a sales person into providing a better discount, as they know they will not have a customer this warm and ready to buy again if they let you leave the store.
Tell them you are ready to buy, wanting the best price and need to get this sorted quickly. Reverse the table and put the sales person under the pump to action your request for a discount.
Price matching can help your haggling strategy
Many stores will price match as mentioned before. This means that at the bare minimum, they will try and give you the same price as a competitor.
The trick with price matching is to use it to bring the price down, and then ask for a further discount to win your business.
In this scenario I like to do a little research prior to hitting the retail stores. I will search online, amongst the big retailers and smaller shops for the best price on an item to benchmark. If the item is part of a bigger retail store network, I am as good as gold to get it price matched. If it is an online only store; it can be a little harder (most stores refuse to price match online prices)
The key is to find a price you want and have it ready to show the sales person if they are appearing to not meet your request for a discount. Proof is in the pudding as they say.
How much can you save by asking for a discount?
Asking for a discount can save you anywhere from $5.00 to thousands depending on the item you are after. The bigger the margin on a product, the more room the sales person can move. The more you know about the true price of an item, the better you will be as you can see through the ‘sales guff’ that makes us believe there is no room for discounts.
Retail stores like Bing Lee, JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman are notorious for offering big discounts as they sell goods that have high margins built in. The same as cars; buying a car is another great way to haggle a better price as the dealers are often hungry to win your business.
Stores like ‘The Good Guys’ also offer heavy incentives for cash purchases. This is basically telling you they are willing and ready for you to haggle with them; it is what separates them from smaller Australian chains that cannot be as flexible on prices. These bigger stores advertise cash prices because they want you to come in and haggle a price out of them; it’s their ‘angle’ that differentiates them.
Here are some of the products you can easily haggle a better price for;
- Cars and motorbikes
- Consumer electronics (like TVs and entertainment items)
- White goods (like fridges, freezers, dryers, washing machines)
- Furniture and household appliances
- Cameras (especially camera accesseries, often thrown in for free if you ask)
- Items from market stalls (they expect some haggling)
- Warranties and delivery charges – you should never pay for these, they should be free
Remember that you are not limited to the products above. You can haggle a better price for just about anything, ranging from insurance prices home loan interest rates.
You are also not limited to a single store; multiple stores and outlets will be willing to haggle with you.
Professional tips for haggling successfully
Get the discounted price in writing. Get the first store you visit to write down the negotiated price on their business card – this way you can show the next shop they have put the offer in writing should you have to leave the first store.
Floorstock makes haggling easier. If the item you are after is the last one left or floor stock, this is your chance to really negotiate a better price. Tell them you don’t like floorstock and that it has been used, touched and potentially damaged so you would be willing to purchase as long as a good discount is applied.
Tell the sales person you are ready to buy, now. Apply immediate sales pressure to the staff. Tell them you want to buy, but you need the best possible price to make it happen. Don’t be affraid to say the price you would be happy with. Work to meet them half way between your request and their offering if it a vast difference.
Ask for a deal sweetner. You can also attempt to get them to throw in a sweetener, which means you are after multiple products and hoping to get something extra thrown in for free. This could be a warranty, extended service, batteries, free delivery, free on road costs, free pick up of your old stove or something required for the product like a case or larger memory card in the case of a digital camera. Let it be known I have never paid for these items in my life.
It’s now time for you to start asking for a discount
So next time you go shopping remember to always ask for a discount. Dont feel guilty like most people do. An easy way to overcome this feeling of guilt is by making light of it and making a joke, for instance; ‘I only have $45 dollars on me – would you accept this amount?’.
Sales staff are used to this kind of haggling and are more than willing to help you with the negotiation. They will likely need to get permission from their manager, but will always come back with a response that will potentially save you money.
Remember, a few minutes of haggling or simply asking for a discount can save you a lot of money over the course of your life.
Are you still unsure about how to haggle? Do you have any of your own tips to get a bigger discount?
Please tell us by dropping a comment below. We are keen to further improve and grow this resource on the art of haggling so as to help Australian consumers get more bang for their buck.