Financial Tip of the Week #4 – How To Ask For A Lower Price
I still remember it like it was yesterday. When I was 16 years old, my father drove me to what I considered to be the fanciest music store in a 40 mile radius. I needed to purchase a new guitar amplifier, as my band was starting to see some real success, i.e., we were playing places other than my friends basement. So we drove out, parked the car, and we went in to check out what they had in stock.
Now as it just so happens, they actually had exactly what I was looking for. Same make, model, and even the right number of speakers! As I was ready to fork over the $500 I knew it was going to cost, my dad very casually asked, “Is this the best price you have on this amp?”
Now, he said it so casually that I wasn’t really even sure what he was asking. But I remember the salesperson saying, “Give me a second to check.” He came back after speaking with his manager and lo and behold, he dropped the price by $50.
I. Was. Floored. After all, my dad didn’t haggle the guy, didn’t throw his smartphone with Amazon prices in his face, or anything like that. No, he just calmly asked if there was a better price for the product. And sure enough, there was!
So this weeks tip is going to give you some easy steps you can take to…
Ask for a Lower Price
Bear in mind, most Americans are not inherently gifted with the knack to ask people for lower prices. In some cultures, it’s 100% expected. Just ask anyone that had to haggle with an Indian businessman (and if you haven’t, just read this). But this is something that can be learned, especially if you’re very intentional about it. Here’s how I went about getting comfortable with asking for a lower price on goods/services:
- Practice – I’m not joking when I say this: you literally need to get in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say something like, “Is this the best price you have on this item?” And then do it again. And again. And again. Nothing will show weakness like someone stumbling through a negotiation. Practice different ways of asking, practice making up information on the fly. But actually say the words outloud to yourself.
- Don’t be afraid of seeming “pushy” – First off, this is your money we’re talking about. You have every right to try to reduce the amount you spend as much as possible. Secondly, most salespeople are going to be pushy with you to close a sale! Why not be pushy back?
- Use data – My dad got lucky in the fact that he really had no idea how much that amplifier cost. But make sure you’re coming in with market prices with which to haggle. Perfect example: I bought a pair of sneakers last year for $40. They were advertised in store for $60, but when I looked on the companies OWN WEBSITE, they were $40. I went up to the cashier, and said, “Look, I can get these shoes on your own site for $20 less. I really don’t want to support your website when I can support an actual brick and mortar store; I used to work in retail I and I know you have daily sales goals. Is there anyway I can get these shoes in store for the online price?” And guess what? It absolutely worked!
- A couple “No’s” are OK- Guess what? Store managers aren’t just going to say, “YES, I WOULD LOVE TO GIVE YOU THIS PRODUCT FOR LESS MONEY!” That’s not their job. So don’t be afraid of pulling a couple “no’s” out of people. It might be uncomfortable the first few times you do it, but after that, it’ll feel a lot more natural. And it’s hard to keep telling someone no once they’ve give you a few reasons to say yes.
- Use silence – You’ll hear a lot that the first one to speak is going to “lose” the negotiation. I don’t know if that’s true, but in general, people don’t like silence, and will do pretty much anything to fill it. That includes agreeing to a 10% discount. 🙂
If you’re looking for a script to follow, feel free to try the following:
Hi there, I was wondering if the price for XXXXXX was the best price you offer?
That’s fair. I just saw this price on (Amazon, Walmart.com, Jet, whatever), and was hoping you all would match it.
Yeah, I know that things are hard for retail nowadays… (then be silent)
Alright. Would you mind getting a manager for me? I don’t want to complain, you’ve been very fair, I just want to see if he/she can help me out…
And restart with the manager…
Of course, that’s just an example. If you have something that works for you, comment below! I’m always happy to learn new negotiating tricks!
Keep trying to crack the code,
Paul AndrewsFollow me on social media!