The best way to haggle, honestly, is to just ask. No one is going to turn you away for trying to haggle. The worst thing is they say no and you move on.
Compiled by SALLstice
Haggling (for me) is more of an attempt than a goal. I know people who will shop around for places willing to lower the price. I’m more of a “I’ll see what I can get” sort of guy.
The best methods I find are the simplest. Just ask “Would you be willing to come down on the price?” Often they’ll give you some showmanship and “ask the manager” and such. (Note: They are never talking to the manager on any offer you did not make yourself.) They will come back with an offer or they might even just open with a “You know what, we have a special going on now…”. (Note: They will ALWAYS be running a special.) You almost always want to ignore that. If they open by cutting the price down before anything even happens, they are trying to sucker you into that feeling of “OMG! WHAT A DEAL!!! I’LL TAKE IT NOW! I’M SUCH A SAVVY BUYER!”
This is when you need to step up your own showmanship. If the item is pre-owned, you’re in a better position. It might seem sleazy but try and look for ANY imperfection. Even the slightest thing can drastically reduce the worth of an item. Point it out and make it seem way worse then it is. The art is how you do this without showing disdain. You never want to seem impressed with anything about the item in question or any offer they make. As soon as they see you’re impressed, they’ll start shoving that aspect down your throat and honestly, it’s more annoying and distracting than anything else. But that’s mostly the point. They want you to buy fast and be out the door.
This is where a lot of people get uncomfortable. This takes practice. Some places are willing to go as deep as half off on some items (mattresses, I find, are the best for this). But don’t expect that. If you’re starting out, do your research and see what other places are selling similar items for. When you go into your haggle, you’ll be better prepared for a counter-offer. Name dropping can help your case too, especially if it’s with a known competitor. They want to drive business away from them so when you tell them you’re thinking of going there for the better price, they’ll be more open to dropping the price more.
Otherwise, my rule of thumb (which I don’t really have any basis for other than it seems to work pretty well) is offer around 75% of their offer. This is very flexible with context of the deal, who I’m dealing with and what I’m trying to get but that’s a decent starting point a lot of the time.
Don’t do what I like to call the reverse auction. If they offer $500, just coming back with saying “$300!” won’t get you anywhere. You need to be able to back up your offer at least a little bit. Bring up other places offering similar items for a price close to yours. Bring up imperfections in the item or even just the fact it is pre-owned is enough to bring it down. The guys in Pawn Stars are awful with this. They don’t give any reasoning for offering even 10% of the seller’s asking price and don’t give any reasoning for it. But I hear the show is staged, so it’s whatever. It still bothers me how blatant it is. If you just come back with an offer like, “I’ll give you $300” it makes you sound like a pompous ass. You still want to be friendly and approachable. You’re asking the business to do you a favor. Make the business WANT to cut you a deal by being friendly and open to negotiation.
Now for the king of deal-breakers. This one simple aspect will gets you HEAVY discounts. Offer cash. Business LOVE cash. Charging costs them money, so by offering cash, literally everyone (except Visa or whatever) wins. If you’re going for a deep offer, offer it in cash. It makes it so much more appealing to the business. Also offer to pay in full, if you can. That is usually preferred over installments. Some places don’t seem to care much, though. And some others prefer the installment plan since it usually costs more for you in the long run.
Aiming for group or package buys works well too. Like I was saying about avoiding the reverse auction, offer alternate deals. Offer that you’ll buy Object A for whatever price, but you’ll also buy Object B (which is somehow related or connected to Object A) for whatever other price. So if you are buying a mattress for $400, offer to buy the mattress for $300 but you’ll also get the box spring and mattress pad for another $150. They make a bigger sale and you get more of what you need for a lower price since you’re buying it all at once.
Apparently, you should always finance a car. I don’t know much about that, but a bunch of commentators here have mentioned it and the Internet is never wrong.
There are a lot of people saying how they hate customers who haggle. Don’t get me wrong, I understand it can be annoying having a jerk like me bothering you over and over. Even more so when your business can’t afford the cut in profits. But like I’ve been trying to say, there are multiple types of hagglers. There are some who are hard nosed about getting the price they walked in with and there are those who are flexible and everyone in between.
I can’t control everyone. If I could, everyone would probably be dead. Since I can’t I can only apologize on their behalf.
If you tell me “Price in not negotiable” I will stop trying. I’m not going to push for a deal where there is not one to be made. Other people might not accept that and keep pushing. My best advice is to be direct and firm, but not a dick about it. You can still make a sale if you try and be honest. If a customer refuses to listen, simply ask them to leave or ignore them. If customers are not willing to accept that you set a hard price, they are not worth your time.
I am not sorry I try to haggle. I am sorry some people are assholes and some of those assholes try to haggle. The fact that they like to haggle has nothing to do with the fact they are assholes. Try to understand the distinction.