All big businesses now expect customers to ask for discounts, says w&h money expert Niki Chesworth. She shows you how to haggle...
Want to save some money? You need to learn to haggle so you can negotiate yourself a great deal.
Even call centres now have prepared scripts to deal with growing numbers of people haggling for a discount. If you ‘um and ah’ and say you’re going to shop around, their default position is often to offer you money off, a voucher or a discount on an extra. So don’t be embarrased to ask.
A poll by moneysavingexpert.com found that some really large retailers are happy for you to haggle (so it’s not just something to use on market stalls). Homebase, Debenhams and John Lewis were among the stores where consumers had a success rate of more than 50 per cent when asking for discounts.
So if most organisations are usually prepared to give you money off – or extras – you need to find the right language. The truth is that many of us aren’t comfortable with haggling. It all becomes much easier, and you’re more likely to succeed, if you use these top haggling tips…
This makes it easier to ask for money off. Compare prices online, look
at what rival companies are offering, then ask that your seller match
the price or offer you an extra incentive – for example, low-cost
breakdown insurance with your car cover.
this year’s quote to last year’s, and ask why you have to pay so much
more…then threaten to shop around.
Again, some extras on the car, free delivery, a free case, a discount voucher, free fitting…they may be happy to give you these as they feel they have won by getting you to pay the asking price.
Saying something vague like ‘I don’t suppose you would give me a
discount’ is bound to elicit the reply ‘no’. A more positive approach is
to have a very clear idea about what you want. Aim lower to give room
for negotiation. That way they have to fight the price up – and when you
agree to a halfway point, they will psychologically feel they have won.
This will give them a reason to agree. So you could say, ‘I’ve seen these cheaper elsewhere, so I’d like to speak to the manager about getting 20 per cent off’ or ‘I really wanted a matching set, but you only have three left, I will have them if you will do three for the price of two’ or ‘I think the zip is a bit stiff, I like the dress but I’ll have to have it fixed, so will you knock £40 off the price?’
‘That offer is only available to new customers’ is a classic rebuff when you ask for an advertised deal. In this case, threaten to switch, as most organisations give staff the discretion to extend offers to all customers. If they say ‘I’m not allowed to give a discount’ or ‘We don’t give discounts’, then ask for an extra (the belt to go with the outfit or a free laptop case) or research online (see moneysavingexpert.com), as you could find that this is one of the many retailers that does.
Not everyone has the authority to give discounts. So ask to speak to the manager. Sometimes this will automatically trigger a different response, as staff are often told to just give ten per cent off – as it saves management time. Remember: the more senior the member of staff, the busier they are, so they’ll probably want to deal with you swiftly.
Pick a busy Saturday afternoon and they’ll want to get rid of you quickly – usually by refusing your request. So go for a quiet time. Picking the last day of a sale, when they need to clear stock, or the end of the season are other good times to negotiate, as you’re doing them a favour by helping them clear the shelves.
This takes a little more bravery. It’s one thing asking for a discount…another to push for one. Always be polite – rudeness never gets you anywhere – but also persistent. Don’t agree too quickly. Instead, put the ball in their court. Stand your ground, say nothing and make them come back to you with an answer and preferably an offer.
…Don’t be afraid to walk away. This is your ultimate sanction and if you want to negotiate good deals there will be times when you have to do this.