The Art of Haggling

Did you know that at one time in this country that there were no fixed prices on anything. You would go into a store and find an item you needed then you would begin the process of negotiating the price. This might seem foreign to us today, but it use to be the rule. In a later article I'll talk more about the history of price negotiation in this country, but today I want to give you some pointers about how to negotiate well.

To begin with you can negotiate the price on just about any item today. You would be surprised at just how many stores will gladly talk to you about a price reduction, but before we get to the techniques of negotiation,we need to remember some simple rules of negotiation.

First never negotiate the price of an item that you do not intend on buying. It is unfair to the seller and to other shoppers who are serious about a purchase. Secondly, be reasonable and not greedy. The seller needs to make a profit to stay in business so don't make outrageous price reduction demands. He will be easier to work with if he believes that you are being fair and not just trying to cheat him. Thirdly, please be patient and courteous at all times. Remember that your goal is to get the best deal you can, so go slow enough that the seller believes that you really care about the item in question.

Now on to the techniques of negotiating. If you take my advice and go slow, this part will be much earier. Ask the seller about the item and let him tell you what he knows. Show genuine interest in the item and if you are not all that interested after he has told you about it, then thank him for his time and dismiss yourself. Most sellers will appreciate this approach more than an abrupt exit and also remember to always ask for some type of card so you can be sure of who you talked to should you want to see the item again. If after he has shown you the item and you are still interested, then clarify the asking price.

Occasionally the seller will allow for a modest discount with as simple a request as "Is that the lowest that you can go" on your part. If the seller offers a price reduction and it is suitable to you, then complete the transaction and leave. Should the seller need for someone else to approve a price reduction, then wait patiently for them to arrive.

Do not appear to be impatient or irritated. When the person arrives who can give you a price reduction, be sure to immediately thank them for taking their time to help you. Ask them about the item and remember they are not aware of what you have discussed with the other person. So do not assume they are aware of what you are requesting. Do not use complaints as the basis of your request and use the same approach as you did with the other person. If a price can be agreed to, then you leave happy and they have made a sale.

But let's say that you are unable to get the reduction you desire, then thank them for their help and ask if the item may be available at a lower price in the future. This lets them know that you are interested in the item and not just trying to get something for nothing. Finally remember that not all attempts will be successful and you do not have to get a reduction on everything you buy. So pick your items carefully and be consistent. You'll be surprised at just how many things can be purchased for a reduced price. I hope you the best of luck in the future as you use these simple rules.

P.S. I've used them and they do work, Steve.

Steve Havard is the owner of Havard Printing and is currently writing several books. Steve writes about a wide range of subjects from religion, to computers. He can be reached at [email protected] or you can view his website at

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