“You don’t get what you don’t ask for.”
Many of us have heard the phrase, but most of us never think to ask for a price break while shopping.
According to a 2013 Consumer Reports study, only 48% of people even attempt to bargain for a better deal on the products and services they buy every day—even though a whopping 89% of those who said they did haggle were able to nab a discount at least once.
So why are we so hesitant to even ask? For starters, “many people think that negotiation is reserved for the big boardroom-type deals and don’t realize how many day-to-day things, such as retail [items], groceries and medical bills, they could negotiate,” says Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, a corporate trainer and author of “Think Like a Negotiator: 50 Ways to Create Win-Win Results by Understanding the Pitfalls to Avoid.”
Additionally, the mere thought of haggling can feel intimidating to many people, notes Ed Brodow, a negotiation-skills trainer and author of “Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals.”
“People are either afraid to ask for a better deal or are convinced it can’t happen,” he says. “They become their own worst enemy if they don’t try. You have to have the ‘negotiation consciousness’: [the willingness] to challenge everything, be assertive and say, ‘This is too much,’ or ‘This is not reasonable,’ or ‘Can you help me out?’ ”
Of course, your chances of success will be helped if you know what surprising products or services are actually negotiable. So we rounded up five things you may not have realized you could haggle over, along with some insider tips that could help you move from too-scared-to-ask to negotiating-ninja status.
1. Haggling Hints for … Appliances and Electronics
Missed the big-box sale on that washer-dryer set, or need a new big-screen TV for the rec room but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg? One smart tactic is to ask about floor models, returns and overstocks, says Kyle James, owner and founder of coupon and bargain-hunting site Rather-Be-Shopping.com.
“Store managers typically want them sold immediately so they don’t take up valuable real estate,” he says. “These items will typically be marked with a special tag. Start the negotiating at 20% off the asking price and be prepared to meet in the middle.” While you’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they can throw in an extended warranty or delivery for free.
And if you’re in the market for more than one big-ticket item, bundling those purchases may help you gain even more leverage.
James discovered the lure of the bundled sale when he was in the market for a new HDTV and DVD player a few years ago. He walked into a major electronics chain and asked the salesperson to knock off $100 if he bought both right then and there.
“He went and asked his manager, and within a minute, he came back and said they could reduce the overall price by $75,” James says.