Just Ask!

Ask and you shall receive & knock and it shall be opened &send an email and see what happens.

As a student of personal finance you are probably familiar with the advice to negotiate with your credit card companies to get a lower interest rate. Why stop there?

There is hardly anything that can't be gotten for less than what is being asked if you are smart and creative about asking.

Since you are reading this on a computer, let's start there. Got AOL?

I called AOL and they gave me two months of free service. Here is how it went...

AOL: How can I make your online experience more enjoyable? (I should have said give me 6 free months!)

ME: Well first, I was wondering how long I have been a member of AOL.

AOL: April 1995

ME: That's a long time. What would happen if I got a new computer and they offered me a free year of AOL.

AOL: Your account would be credited for that year.

ME: Well, since I've been a valued customer for such a long time could you give me 3 or 4 free months?

AOL: I'd like to ...can you hold?

ME: Sure

AOL: My supervisor has authorized me to give you 2 free months. Is that OK?

ME: Sure.

AOL: Leo, let me ask you... is the reason you called today to get some free months?

ME: Well, I really wanted to find out how long I'd been a member but YES, since I've been a loyal customer. Thanks!

You'll notice that FIRST, I established how long I had been a member. Even if I knew the answer to the question I would still have had him look it up so HE knew. Seven years as an AOL member established that I was a VALUED (valuable) customer. This is when I asked for the free months. If he had said "no" I would have asked to speak to his supervisor but he did that for me.

I'm not sure who said it but I like the lesson "never accept a NO from someone not empowered to give you a YES!"

Got Road Runner? I got this idea from one of my subscribers. Locally, Time Warner is offering new subscribers a special six month rate of $29.95 instead of the normal $49.95.

She was already a Road Runner subscriber but she called and asked for the $29.95 rate since she was a "valued customer". They said yes and she saved $120 for a five-minute phone call.

Have you been with your Internet Service Provider for a while? Call up and ask them for a few free months. If they are reluctant, you might drop hints about trying another service.

In one of my seminars a student commented that she would be afraid "they" would laugh at her if she called and asked for a discount. 1) They probably won't and 2) So what if they did? If they are laughing, ask them if that was a yes or no and then ask to speak with their supervisor say you are upset about the laughing and as a valued customer you'll get your discount! That or have one of your teenage kids make the call they don't take no for an answer do they?

If possible, before you are in a position to negotiate, review your assets and what, if anything, can you offer to them?

Being a long time customer is an asset and they don't want to lose you. Have a friend who wants to buy the same thing? Bringing a company two sales at one time is an asset. Having influence over a large group who might want to buy what they are selling is a big asset. Paying cash can be an asset.

At this writing I have 7700 subscribers to my e-zine. If I see a product on the Internet that I think might be helpful to them I'll contact the seller. I introduce myself and invite them to visit my website to establish some credibility.

I'm writing to propose a joint venture that could benefit the merchant, my subscribers and sometimes me. I explain that I would consider endorsing their product or service to my list if it is as good as advertised. If they believe in their product they usually will offer me a FREE review copy of it.

In the last month I've gotten $1532 in value (products and services) using the assets I've developed.

Can't come up with any assets right now? A former auto salesperson told me his simple 8-word sentence for getting discounts "Is that price the best you can do?" Again, if you get a "no" from anyone other than the owner or manager in the case of a mega-retailer ask, in the nicest way possible, if they could check with the owner/manager to make sure that is the best price.

In this live scenario it never hurts to be prepared to leave if they won't deal. Mention you saw the same product somewhere else imply you are going to buy one today from someone.

My students have given me many examples of negotiating discounts at places as big as Wal-Mart simply by asking the manager. The worst they can say is no.

In my live seminars I recommend never buying a NordicTrac from NordicTrac. You'll find lots of them in next to new condition in the classified section of the newspaper. Make your calls and be sure to mention that there are a lot of them for sale. This raises strong doubt in their mind that they will be able to sell at the price they want and makes them more receptive to a lower price.

Negotiating can be fun. It doesn't have to be nerve-wracking. Merchants are used to it and you should get used to it too! Good luck and let me know how it goes for you.

Leo J. Quinn, Jr. owner of http://www.LeoQuinn.com is a financial educator from the Albany, NY area. For over eight years he has been helping thousands of people get control of their finances and get out of debt in a fraction of the normal time. He has a special offer for readers of this newsletter at http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/adt rack.asp?AdID=132551

In The News:

Negotiating as a Woman of Color  Harvard Business Review
Start the new year with WHS Negotiations program  Washington State Hospital Association
How to Ask for a Pay Raise in 5 Easy Steps  Kiplinger's Personal Finance
The Art of Negotiation  Harvard Business Review
9 Tactics for Better Remote Negotiations  Harvard Business Review
Principled Negotiation: Art of Conflict Management  Construction Week Online India
Negotiation workshop for Women in Medicine  American Medical Association

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