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Haggling for Beginners

This article was written by in Tips. 8 comments.


Coming clean right off the bat: I can’t personally teach you how to haggle or negotiate anything. It terrifies me almost as much as falling in love or doing improv theater. But at least I’m not alone.

Amy Reiter over at Salon.com posted a great article yesterday called “How I learned to haggle”, and while I recommend the whole story, I’ll distill the bullet points for you here:

  • Practice
  • Act as if it’s a game
  • Just say, ‘Is that the best you can do?’ And then be quiet [...] Silence is a great tactic.
  • Negotiate for yourself as if you are negotiating for others

I can also vouch for the silence technique as being particularly effective in getting your co-workers to understand your point of view. I don’t mean offering anyone the “silent treatment,” just including some longer pauses during the course of a conversation that starts with people disagreeing. Now that I think about it, I guess it is a kind of negotiation.

Any other tips? Please leave them in the comments below.

Published or updated April 27, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar The Weakonomist

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s tough. I’ve had some people straight up tell me they know what I’m doing and don’t want to play. My best experiences have been after a bad CS experience, or especially cars. Got my car last year for well under invoice.

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avatar Tom Dziubek

I apparently should have talked to you BEFORE we got the Toyota Rav4 last night.

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avatar Miranda

I find the silence technique works rather well also. Additionally, when my husband is there, we like to ask for a couple of minutes. We go aside and talk quietly — but not TOO quietly — about what’s available at another store. Or we mention that we have another store or two to visit before making our final decision. That almost always helps us get a better deal, since the last thing the salesperson wants is for us to walk out of there and possibly buy from someone else.

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avatar Cathryn Sykes

Don’t insult the seller or the merchandise. “You want that much for this piece of junk?” will do nothing but make the seller determined to sell it to anyone but you.

A much better technique? “This is nice, but it’s a little more than I can afford. I’ll understand if you say no, but would you consider selling it to me for this?”

Or: “This is almost what I’m looking for…I’m tempted….would you consider accepting this price?”

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