You might be surprised at how often you can drive the price down on consumer goods and services. Almost everything is negotiable; it’s just a matter of asking. While it might feel uncomfortable, it’s the only way to get the conversation started. Consumer negotiation requires skill and patience, and with some practice, it can prove to be highly valuable.
Excel in Consumer Negotiation
There are many negotiation techniques that can be used. How you approach a negotiation is dependent on circumstances and level of interest. No matter the approach you take, these four essential moves will help you negotiate with confidence.
Know Your Goal & Bottom Line
Successful negotiations begin with identifying your goal and bottom line. What are you trying to achieve during your negotiation? How much are you willing to compromise and part with in order to reach your goal?
Understanding your goal and bottom line will help you remain focused and engaged during a negotiation. The objective, of course, is to create a win-win situation for all parties. The best route to achieving this is to have a clear idea of:
- your preferred outcome
- your second most-preferred outcome
- the other parties’ intentions
- the market
Research the Market
An informed shopper is a smart shopper. Unless you are aiming for an exclusive service or a rare product, the market can help you develop your strategy. Hop online to get the ball rolling. Google Shopping is a great place to get started since it displays availability at different price points from different sellers. From there, you have a baseline to see what the standard market is charging (at least from the sellers working directly with Google). You’ll want to compare these options with others you discover simply through searching online, visiting brick-and-mortar stores, and word-of-mouth.
Consider the condition of the item(s) you’re seeking and its average associated price point. If you’re open to open box, pre-owned, previous versions, or any other condition of the item, you’ll have a greater range of data and flexibility to work with as you consider your negotiation strategy.
Researching the market for services can be trickier than for goods. Research the actual service first, so you at least have a minimal understanding of the process from start to finish. Comb through online reviews, photos, and anything else you’re able to dig up. Contact at least three different companies for quotes, pay attention to their interactions, and ask any questions you’d like answered. This will give you a better idea of the overall project.
When you research the market, you have a clearer understanding of value, competition, and service.
Know Your Counterpart
Who are you bargaining with? Are you meeting with a representative of a large company or someone from a small business? Is it their own personal business?
Knowing your counterpart, or the other party, helps you understand what kind of leeway they might have in a negotiation. This is hugely important when you’re trying to determine how to approach and present compromises in conversation.
- Observe and listen intently to your counterpart
- Mirror body language and a few select key words to create familiarity & information sharing
- Express yourself confidently and pleasantly
- Leverage the competition
Be Prepared to Walk Away
How often do we truly need the things we are bargaining for? I ask myself this question whenever I’m haggling. If there is no immediate need, be prepared to walk away.
Walking away is a power move. It tells the other party that you don’t need to compromise anymore. It also prevents you from letting your emotions control you. Sometimes walking away even results in a successful sale; it just depends on how badly the seller wants to close the deal.
The Benefits of Consumer Negotiation
Rather than having to accept the ticket price, I appreciate the opportunity to negotiate and potentially walk out with more savings in my pocket. The most obvious benefit of consumer negotiation is securing a deal and saving money.
Additional benefits can include:
- Getting more for your money via extra options/perks
- Improving your communication skills
- Becoming more comfortable with conflict resolution
- Boosting your self-confidence
- Learning how to read others
- Understanding your worth
- Creating long-lasting/future relationships
- Recognizing and taking advantage of market changes
Negotiating can net you quality products for less, lower bills, a higher salary, and more. It’s truly a worthwhile skill to learn and apply in all aspects of life.
What will you be negotiating next?