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7 negotiating tips to get a rock-bottom price

Brushing up on your negotiating skills can help to get the best, and lowest, price available.

Compilation image of pile of Australian dollar notes and shoppers on the street in Sydney.
You can negotiate a better price on almost anything, but timing is key. (Source: Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

With the cost of living and price of goods - from cars to avocados - going through the roof, it’s never been a better time to fine tune your negotiating skills.

Here are my top negotiating tips for haggling your way to a rock-bottom price.

Tip 1. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes

The most effective strategy for bargaining success is to understand the situation and motivation of your seller.

Better still is if you can align their needs with your own.

Read more from Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon:

The independent fresh fruit/veggie barn for example.

It’s 6:30 on a Saturday afternoon and they might have a pressing need to clear old stock.

Snap! You have a pressing need for dinner.

In this instance, buying a fair bit and then asking them to simply ‘sweeten’ the deal a little is also a great strategy.

Tip 2. Understand that sales are cyclical

There is a season for everything, and it’s no different with discounting.

Think about it, there are not just Boxing Day and stocktake sales but also winter and summer sales.

For example, with clothing retailers, wait until the new season starts and you could be able to talk your way into a significant saving on a rack of unwanted clothes.

It might be that, at that moment, they care more about making space than making back money… they need to be able to fit in the new, big-margin stock.

Similarly, when it comes to motor vehicles, the run-out sale can be a great way to pick up an soon-to-be-outdated model for a steal.

Tip 3. Go to the top

Don’t hassle a shop assistant with your haggling – they are very unlikely to have the power to help you.

Head straight to the top with the duty manager or equivalent.

The key here is to pick a moment when they can entertain your request.

These are busy people so you’re most likely to get an extra bargain when they have a second to ponder, rather than being pulled in all directions.

Try and identify with how tired and overworked they probably are too. Can’t hurt.

Tip 4. Be kind and polite

This has always been true that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You know how I said earlier to align your interests with the person you’re trying to win over?

You don’t do that by being a pain in the butt.

Being kind and empathetic is the way to get what you want.

And it’s not just more pleasant for the person on the other end of your request, but also for you.

That awkward silence? Don’t fill it. It might make the salesperson uncomfortable enough to accept your request, or at least come a bit closer to your pricing position.

Bargaining is not one-sided… it’s usually about meeting in the monetary middle.

Tip 5. Know your stuff

The best leverage to pay lower-than-ticket-price is to understand the industry and your alternatives.

In a lot of cases, your mobile phone is your friend.

A quick Google search might reveal a far-cheaper white good, for example, at a competing outlet.

In this case, many vendors, chains and franchises have a policy to price match or even beat your cheapest other option by 10 per cent.

And you save yourself that inconvenient trip to the other outlet.

Because time, too, equals money.

Tip 6. Think about what you can contribute besides cash

Renters, in particular, are getting really creative about ways to reduce their sky-rocketing rent.

Are you handy? Good in the garden? Does a flatmate’s dog need walking?

It’s not just about money when it comes to a financial exchange, but what else you can contribute to the equation.

Tip 7. Remember, you can haggle on financial products too

Striking a bargain with your bank could well represent huge savings.

After all, your home loan is likely to consume the biggest chunk of your budget.

I’ve never seen mortgage discounting like it is happening right now as lenders try to prevent mass exodus.

Note you wouldn’t even have to go through the refinancing rigmarole.

The manner of your approach will be key, (tip five is also crucial here). Soon, 4.81 per cent will likely be the cheapest quality variable loan in the market.

Alternatively, you can simply fill out an online ‘mortgage discharge form’ and see if they offer you a cut-price deal.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is the author of How to Get Mortgage-Free Like Me, available at Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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