One of the best way of saving money, if you are buying an expensive item or service, is through negotiation with the supplier. By taking the trouble to negotiate, you can save large amounts of money, with very little effort.
We'll show you five ways to negotiate to get better deals in this article.
Remember that shops and suppliers want to sell to you
Shops, online or in the high street, only exist by finding buyers for the products that they stock. Having goods, but no buyers, is hugely costly to shop owners so they need to shift their stock, maintaining cash flow and replacing old stock with new.
So if you have taken the time and trouble to visit a shop on the web, or on the high street, you present an opportunity to that shop keeper, by becoming a potential customer for their goods and services.
If you walk out of their shop without buying, then that is a big opportunity missed for the shop owner. After all, by becoming a customer now, you might become a highly valued long term customer in the future.
Very few good shop owners like to see you walk away empty handed and then buy from one of their competitors.
You, the buyer, have considerable leverage with the shop owner and you are in a great position to negotiate to get the best deal.
Remember that shops have to make a profit
Having shown that shops want, and need, to sell to you, we have to remember that shops and service suppliers need to make a profit.
There is no point in asking for a big discount of it means that the shop will not make any money from the deal.
Good negotiation creates a win win situation. This means that the shop benefits from you being a customer, by making a profit on the sale and by you spreading the word to your friends and family about them.
You also have to benefit from the negotiation too, by getting a reduced price, or discount of some sort. You do this by being reasonable.
Be reasonable and polite
There is little point in negotiating for low ticket items as saving a few pence here and there isn't worth the effort. When buying larger consumer items such as washing machines and televisions, for example, it certainly pays to negotiate as you can save a lot of money.
Negotiating for a 10% discount will probably be more effective than striking out for a larger reduction as this would be more likely to make the deal unprofitable for the shop or supplier.
To be successful in your negotiations, you have to present a good reason for your request. By backing up a discount request with sound facts, you are making a stronger negotiation stance and are more likely to succeed.
For example, if you know the shop down the road is selling the TV that you want for £20 less, then ask the shop owner to price match.
The shop owner wants your business so say to him (or her) “I can buy this cheaper at your competitor, so what are you going to do to win my business now?”
Very few shop owners will let you buy from their competitors (remember the benefits of long term customer retention and word of mouth marketing) when presented with a polite and reasoned negotiation stance.
Remember to negotiate with online shops
Most online shops operate in a very competitive marketplace and have to work hard to win your business, either through attractive prices or exceptional service.
Just because a business operates only on the Internet, this doesn't mean that you can't negotiate a good deal with them.
As most e-commerce web sites publish contact telephone numbers – and you should consider how sensible it is to buy from a web site that does not publish working telephone numbers – you can always negotiate by phone with the online shop too.
As long as you are reasonable and create a win win situation, you will generally find online stores receptive to negotiation. They want your business!
Remember to ask for a discount
For most people, asking for a discount is the hardest part. A lot of people shy away from possible confrontation or embarrassment rather than discuss a reduction in price or try and secure a better deal.
As long as you are polite and reasonable and can explain why you feel a reduction is justified, then, in my experience, you will actually be respected by the shop owner. After all they probably negotiate hard with their suppliers to secure the best deal for themselves.
The very worst thing that can happen is that they say “no”, but then they lose the business, which they don't want to happen.
So think of the money that you can save, just by asking! The more practice you have at negotiating with shops and suppliers, the more persuasive you will become and the more money you will save.
A real life example
Here is a real life example, showing how I negotiated a better deal with Dell, a major online computer supplier, this morning. As you can see from my blog post, I objected to the high delivery charge and wanted them to reduce it to a more reasonable level.