The ability to negotiate the prices of products and services in today’s economy is a valuable skill. In this era of economic uncertainty, people are looking for ways to stretch their paychecks as far as possible.
Negotiation can be an effective way to stick to a budget without compromising on the things you need or want. Even those who hate to haggle can work on skills that make them more adept at the art of negotiation.
• Research your numbers. A clear picture of the value of products and services can make it much easier to negotiate when you are buying something. For example, some auto dealerships may come out with an inflated price for a car, then make a deal by lowering that price to what seems like a steal. But as a buyer if you go in already knowing the data you understand when to say no to an offer, and when to push for a lower sale price. Armed with this information, it’s also possible to ask a dealer to match a competitor’s price.
• Know the motivation. There may be motivation, such as a deadline, behind a sale that makes the seller more inclined to accept a lower offer. For example, if a seller is moving and needs to be in his or her new house by a certain date, you may be able to make a lower bid on the home if you can accommodate a quick closing.
• Offer a ridiculously low amount. The financial information site MoneyCrashers.com suggests offering a low-ball amount when negotiating. They attest that studies show that with a ridiculous offer or counteroffer, a negotiator gains satisfaction from getting the seller to make concessions. Furthermore, the seller also will feel like he achieved something by convincing the negotiator to pay any value more than the low-ball offer — even if it turns out that the item is worth more money.
• Be willing to walk away. Negotiation expert Ed Brodow advises against negotiating unless you have the option to walk away. By being willing to say “no” to an offer, a negotiator’s resolve can force the other party to make concessions, especially if he or she has no other buyers. This can work well with “timed pressure” or a deadline after which a person walks away and goes with a competitor. Something along the lines of “I will use XYZ company instead of yours if I don’t hear back from you on my price by 2 pm.” Sometimes the seller will be willing to lower the price in these instances.
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