Give yourself permission to ask for a better price
Newswise — Winston-Salem, NC, November 18, 2011 - With gas and food costs rising this holiday, your budget may not stretch as far as you need it to. While the slow economy isn’t good news, it could work in your favor. Charles Lankau, a business professor and expert in negotiation at Wake Forest University, says consumers should be assertive about asking for discounts when shopping for just about everything this holiday season.
You might find retailers and service providers are more willing to negotiate to get your business, says Lankau because they are anxious to make more sales. “As a consumer in today’s economy, people need to ask themselves, ‘Am I about to spend some money?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ negotiating is almost always appropriate. Price, terms, perks or extras—most of the time they are there if you just ask.”
For those new to holiday bargain shopping beyond coupons and Black Friday deals, Lankau offers the following tips:
Give yourself permission to negotiate. Bargaining is one of many valuable budget-stretching tools available to make holiday spending funds go further. Use it.
Focus on the result, not on any misplaced embarrassment for asking. Think of how good it will feel to purchase a great gift at a discounted price. If you are successful, it’s a win-win situation. In most cases, the seller will still be making a profit.
Touch a chord. Choose your words carefully to reach the emotional side of the person you are dealing with, for example: ‘I’d love to give this as a Christmas gift, but I’m just not sure I can afford it. Can you do any better?’ Practice different approaches in the car on your way to the store to see how they sound.
Practice. Just like in sales, keep trying, and your ‘ask’ will improve.
Track your results. Keep a note card in your glove box and jot down every time you purchase an item for less than the asking price. It adds up! You might even keep a record of holiday shopping successes from year to year. Seeing your savings grow is a great motivator.
Lankau says large purchases, like cars and homes, or competitive services for television or telephone, are expenses where people expect to negotiate, but deals on traditional gifts from clothes to toys can also be found in retail shops. “My mother never hesitated to point out a flaw, if there was one, in a blouse or sweater, and she almost always received at least a ten percent discount.”