In Today’s Economy, Negotiate EVERYTHING (except my fee)

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My husband Richard and son David are both born negotiators. It’s like a game with them and why I never buy a car by myself or real estate without consulting one of them.

In today’s economy, though, there is a lot more that you can negotiate. I’m going a little off topic from the regular tax news, which seems to have been pretty dark lately anyway.

In the 8/10/09 edition of “Time” magazine, there is a great article called, “Let’s Make a Deal” and it’s about the growing opportunity to negotiate everything. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s influence from other countries, but whatever the reason, it’s now possible to negotiate prices in places you never thought possible. Here’s some recent stories:

Lowe’s 10% off a $4,000 piece of equipment. Why? Because you asked.

Sports Authority: 10% off a watch

Whole Foods: Two packs of bacon thrown in for free

Best Buy: $25 off a $135 webcam

My son’s technique is to just ask, and then ask again and then ask again. (I think he learned that one as a kid and never outgrew it.) It’s said that if you want anything, you need to ask 6 times. Try it out!

Here are some techniques from

Following along Teri Gault: First stop is a high end jewelry store. She starts by complimenting the sales clerk on the quality of the stock. Then she carefully moves into the seller’s personal space with an enthusiastic, on the same team style. She gets him to agree to a discount on a chain. Then once he’s agreed, she quickly hits him up with another offer. In this case, after the first discount, if she buys a second chain, she get an even better discount on both. In the end, she got $270 worth of jewelry for $215.

I was with my son the other day at a cell phone kiosk. The sales guy was bi-lingual and David kept switching Spanish and English, looking for where the salesman was more emotional. David also does the walk away close. He almost always will walk away at some point, not mad, just “No, that doesn’t work.” And then 5-10 minutes later, walks buy. In every single case, I’ve seen him get the deal back with a better discount. One time, in Juarez, he used the technique. It worked and he saved $1 USD , but it took another 45 minutes. At some point, I’ve got to factor my own time into that technique!

One more tip: If the person you’re talking to doesn’t have the authority to make a deal, ask for a manager. But not in a “I’m going to get you in trouble” way, rather you just need to talk to someone who can make the deal.

So, how about you? Have you tried out bargaining in places you wouldn’t have before? What’s been your response?

It’s always risky to put up a blog like this because someone is bound to call my husband Richard now or drop him an email and try to bargain a discount on a tax strategy.

Want to know a secret? You probably could do it, and get a good price, IF you acted so that the appt was held before the end of the month. That’s because my busy season starts about a week after school is back in session. And I’ll then be busy through the end of the year. By December, I’ll be working weekends just to get in all the appts I need to get in. So, there’s no incentive then for us to deal. But this month – perhaps.

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