The Art of Haggling: How to Negotiate Better Prices

In General, Information on June 14, 2006 at 12:54 pm

Historically, few countries had fixed prices for their products: instead, you would locate an item you wished to purchase and then negotiate the price. These days, In western countries, few people utilise that art of haggling to get a discount on their purchases, when in fact most retailers are open to negotiation and you could often get things cheaper if you only asked! In this article, I will offer a few successful haggling techniques which you can even use in high street stores!

When negotiating prices, don’t feel you should limit yourself to markets, car-boot sales or informal transactions; you would be surprised how many high street stores and service providers will be willing to discuss a discount if you suggest the stated price is too high! Electrical goods, household furniture and even mobile phone contracts may be discounted if you are willing to haggle.

There are a few simple guidelines which you should follow when attempting to haggle:

  • Don’t negotiate the price of something you don’t intend to buy: this is unfair to the seller, and also to others who may be serious about making a purchase. Also, this may affect the effectiveness of your haggling skills if you decide later that you wish to buy something different from the retailer.
  • Be reasonable: the retailer needs to make a profit to be able to stay in business, so do not be greedy in demanding an unfair price reduction. The seller will be easier to negotiate with if they believe you are being fair and not simply trying to cheat your way to a huge reduction in price.
  • Be patient and courteous: after all, your aim is to get the best deal you can for your chosen purchase, and not to simply aggravate the seller!

Here are some techniques you could use when haggling the price of an item:

  • Be aware of the market value of your intended purchase; you could try price comparison sites such as Kelkoo to discover this.
  • Set a value for the highest price you are willing to pay and stick to it. Ensure this is reasonable and fair to the seller.
  • Ask the seller to tell you a bit about the item and appear interested while they speak. If you decide the item is not to your liking, thank them politely for their time before leaving. If instead you wish to negotiate, ask the seller to confirm the stated price and ask: “Is that your best price?” Many sellers will be willing to reduce by a small amount if you simply ask.
  • Perhaps the manager must be consulted before a better offer is given. If this is the case, wait patiently for the manager to arrive and do not appear aggravated. Be sure to fill in all details of as the manager may not be aware of your request. If a price can be agreed, then you can leave happy with your reduction. If you are unable to agree, then ask if it may be available at a lower price in the future, which shows you are interested in the item. Otherwise, thank them for their time and leave.
  • It is a good idea to shop around for the best price, and to play sellers off against each other. If you find a better offer down the road, then tell this to the more expensive seller! Many shops offer a price matching scheme, and may even reduce the price further in order to complete the sale.
  • You should also check prices online and take copies of prices with you when haggling. This shows that you could easily get your product elsewhere. A good tool when shopping on the high street is the SMS service provided by AskRav.com which sends you details of the best online prices directly to your mobile.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away if the seller won’t meet your target price. If this is within the price scope they are able to offer, chances are they will negotiate better if they think they will lose the sale.
  • Quieter times (just before shops are closing, and midweek afternoons and the end of the month) are better times to haggle. The seller may need to reach a quota for their commission, or be more willing to barter if there are fewer shoppers around.
  • Always ask for a discount on goods which are slightly faulty or marked: you should expect to get at least 10% off the asking price, unless the seller is feeling particularly stubborn!

Here are some other websites which offer great advice on haggling techniques:


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