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December 13, 2018

Holiday Tips for a Good Negotiator

The year-end holidays are unique in that they are hectic and expensive. It's a time when people do more thoughtless discretionary spending than any other time of the year. When the credit card bills come in January or February, we ask "What were we thinking?" That negative impact can be significantly lessened by being better negotiators today.

Two Reminders
Good negotiators who get caught up in the holiday (over) spending spirit have two identified visual reminders for seeking a 'better deal'. Those cues are the dollar bill and our credit card. (I guess we could add a third....our blank check.) When any of these are about to be spent or used, pause and think, "How can I get this at a lower price?" The key - just ask!
Don't let the speed of the transaction or the crush of shoppers diminish your resolve. Even though the crowds may be heavy and the pace quickening, the opportunity to ask for a concession is ever present. Just ask.
It's no surprise that store clerks and managers are eager to make sales and make them today. The aggressive sales and sale prices communicate that clearly. They have room to better their price and they'd even be happy to do it. Just ask.
But how do you ask? Plan your power language in advance. Use the famous crunch line:"Is that that the best you can do?"
Wince (flinch) at the price tag. Look puzzled and ask if the price on the item is correct (indicating your think is must be wrong because it's so high).
Then bring out your favorite concession request lines:
  • "When is this going on sale? Can I have the courtesy of the sale price today?"
  • "Do you have any 'wiggle room' on that price?"
  • "What do I have to do to get 20% off on this item?"
  • "Wouldn't I find this cheaper online?"
  • "What could you do for me if I bought two of these?"
  • "At this price, you could obviously throw in an extra _____, couldn't you?"
Time to Wait?

Don't think because the clerk is busy that they won't have time to discuss possible deal pricing. Waiting around for the clerk to be 'less busy' will be time well spent!
Consider also that more and more store owners and managers are clerking themselves. Many are not hiring holiday help in the numbers of previous years. That increases the odds of you and I dealing with someone who has the authority to make a concession. Just ask.
One last thought, good negotiators can even get better deals online by just asking. It takes a bit more effort, but the dividends are significant. Two techniques work well here.
First, click on the 'Contact Us' link and send an e-mail with your price reduction request. Be courteous and ask nicely. Be specific as to what price you want. Just ask....what's the worst they can say. The "What do I have to do to get this price?" line works wonders.
Second, see if the checkout system with their shopping cart has a "Discount" or "Promo" Code. If it does then you know someone is getting a price break...a better deal. It also means that the vendor will sell for less. Again use the 'Contact Us' line (or an 800 phone number) to ask for that 'code'. 90% of the time you'll get that code instantly. An extra money-saving step that hurried shoppers fail to take. Again, just ask!

Enjoy the season. Enjoy getting good deals. And remember good negotiators don't hesitate to seek that better deal any time one of those 'reminders' (cash or credit card) makes their appearance.

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