5 Tips on How to be a Better Negotiator

negotiatorI don’t know if you’re like me, but the thought of negotiating makes me nervous. I don’t want to offend the person who I am dealing with, but then I also do not want to get a bad deal at the same time.

I hate to mention it, but I also don’t want to look cheap. I’m guessing other people are like this also, or there would be more negotiating in the world! But in reality, you don’t always look cheap. If you truly think the item is worth less, or that you can get a better price, then haggle! In today’s economy, there is room for haggling at many stores.

Not every store and place allows haggling and negotiating on their prices, but trying to negotiate won’t hurt either. Trying because there might be something wrong with the items, when there is a salesperson involved (such as at a used car lot), at the flea market, and so on are all great places to practice your negotiating skills.

Below are some tips to get the best bang for your buck:


1. Research the Item

Haggling on an item without researching first can hurt you in the end. If you sound like you know what you’re talking about, then there is less of a chance that the seller will try and take advantage of you.

Researching the item can also help if other places and stores are offering the product for way less. You can point these price differences out and ask for a similar and competitive discount.


2. Mention Any Damage

This is a key way to haggle. If something is wrong with the item that you are wanting to buy, then why should it still be priced at 100% of its retail value?

Point out what is wrong (only if there is something actually wrong, please do not just ruin items just for the sake of getting a discount) and ask the seller if they can budge  on their price at all.


3. Time it Right

This comes in as a factor in many areas. If it’s the end of the month, the salesperson might have a sales quota that they are trying to beat, and your sale might help them reach it so they might offer your item at a deep discount.

Also check the timing of the year. Is it the Fall and you’re trying to get a discount on Summer clothes? This will probably work in your favor.


4. Don’t Be Rude

If the item is priced at $100, and you offer $10, then the person that you are haggling with might just ask you to leave. You don’t want to insult the seller. Make a realistic offer that is something that you would accept and something that you think the seller might accept. Also leave room for further negotiation since there will most likely be negotiating than what you forest offer.

Also, when you finally do reach your perfect price point, don’t try to negotiate further. If you’re price was $50, and the seller finally reaches it, don’t try to go below that and ask for $25. You can just be further insulting the seller.


5. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

If you and the seller are not able to reach the price that you want, then walk away. There is no need to waste either your time or the sellers. There is also the possibility that the person might lower their price right as you walk away, or they might call you and ask you to come back.

Do you negotiate? Does it usually work for you?

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  1. Great post! I must admit that I am not a good negotiator nor a great haggler. I would like to try these tips. They might work for me on my next shopping. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I don’t really like to negotiate, but I like to save and get a bargain! I find it easier to negotiate in shops than for a direct sale, salesman don’t mind that much, it is the shop’s money after all. With a direct sale, I try to learn about the reason why people are selling their house/car/furniture… If I hear any reason that sounds like they are in a hurry, I would definitely offer a lower price.

  3. I use to be shy about it but now I just don’t care, I know I’m not the first person to ask and won’t be the last. The worse someone can say is no and in my experience it usually pays off!

  4. For me, negotiation is using your strengths or edge to get a better deal. I negotiate all the time by asking questions. I find it very low key and less confrontational. You can smile while you’re doing it too. I am sometimes amazed what I was able to negotiate by just asking questions.

  5. Negotiating via questions works really well for my wife… I’m kind of a bull in a china shop, so she usually maintains the relationship better than I do… That said, she is still working on the willingness to walk away part… She struggles with the nearly inherent paradox of not being willing to (or interested in) negotiating for something unless she really wants it… in which case it’s very hard for her to be willing to walk away… but practice helps… she is getting better and better…

    I just make it a habit to really want very few things…helps with negotiating and has the added benefit of annoying my significantly better half no end…

  6. Negotiating is all about getting the best possible outcome for both parties. They get the sale and maybe an ongoing customer, you get a deal.

    I think we American’s need more places to practice these skills while growing up. Other countries have negotiation built into their retail systems – it’s expected, just like it is here at garage sales.

    Fear of social rejection is part of the problem with people who are afraid to negotiate.

    Inability to walk away is always a problem too.

  7. How timely! I just posted about negotiating last week! We definitely have some overlap in our advice, but I particularly like your advice to mention any damage. The seller is likely to downplay anything that may be wrong with the item you’re purchasing, so unless you bring it up, it’s not going to be factored into the negotiated price.

  8. I buy from garage sales and Craigslist from time to time so I have a few occasions in which to negotiate. And I’ve been to markets in countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, India, Cambodia, and the Dominican Republic, where I had to negotiate with sellers.

    I agree that it is helpful to know the value of the item you are purchasing. I like to go for win-win. I want to get a good price, and I want the other person to feel good about the transaction too.

  9. My biggest tip is to let the person negotiate against themself. Don’t offer a lower price right away but instead ask them what the best price they can do is. Then point out some flaws and ask again if they can do better. The finally come in with your offer which now looks much more reasonable!


  10. I love negotiating at garage sales, they are looking to sell at almost any prices as long as it is now out of their house!

  11. Good suggestions, and #4 and #5 in particular resonated. I think that being nice in general is so much more profitable than being rude and angry. At least, I respond better to nice folks. When working in customer service a LONG time ago – as in almost 2 decades ago – I found it way easier to handle those who were polite. It can get people further. Also, when negotiating, we need to be able to walk away. Sometimes it really pays to detatch ourselves emotionally from a situation, and avoid getting to attached or competitive.

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