Before I lived in Australia, I would never have dreamed of going into an electrical store and negotiating the price down. I'd likely haggle for the price of a car, and I'd definitely try for a bargain if I was at a market. However, the idea of going in to a store and negotiating the price of a microwave, was a new concept for me, but one that I quickly got accustomed to.
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I've quickly learnt that the price advertised, is not always the price that you have to pay. Shops such as Good Guys (Electrical store) even advertise that you 'pay less for cash', and there's an expectation almost that you'll ask what the best price there is for that product.
If you are new to the process of negotiating for a price, here are a few tips:
1. Do your research, so that you know what price you ideally would like to pay for the product that you want. This information can also come in useful if you are wanting a shop to do a price match for you. You need to go in with a realistic price so that you don't end up overpaying. You should know off the top of your head what a 'great deal' is and what a 'average' deal would be, and anything less than this isn't worth the hassle.
2. When negotiating for a discount, you need to be confident. Shake off any fears about the salesperson judging you, or concern about how you will come across. With negotiating, you need to embrace the notion of 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' and hope for the best. If you don't ask for a discounted price, you'll never get a discounted price. This is fine if you're prepared to pay top dollar for all your goods, but when there are bargains to be had, you need to go in strong and confident.
3. Only haggle or negotiate for a better price at a store where it's an accepted practice. Heading into Coles or Woolworths with the aim of haggling for cheaper coffee or bread is just not the done thing. However, price negotiation is definitely a common practice with electrical goods, jewellery, holidays, cars, furniture and bigger ticket items, especially when you are paying cash.
4. Once you've put your price out there, e.g. 'would you accept $150 cash', allow the silence to happen. Let the sales person be the next person to speak. It's often considered a weakness to be the first person to speak after an offer has been made. Let the salesperson consider your offer, and let them speak first. Sometimes a salesperson will try to use the silence to make you feel uncomfortable, but this is just a tactic. Allow the silence to happen, and just wait for them to break it, a bit like a staring contest.
5. Never negotiate with yourself. If you've put a monetary offer out there, make sure that you don't counter offer against yourself. Do not raise your monetary offer until they have made a counter offer. When/if you do have to make a rise in your own offer, go for small teeny tiny increments.
6. A good salesman will aim to protect the profit that they can make on your sale, and so will come out with a number of excuses about why your offer is too low, and how you need to come back with a better offer. Stand your ground (within reason), and if you've done your research, you'll know what a realistic price for the product you're buying is. You can always invent your own backstory complete with excuses if you feel that you want to add to your case.
7. Have cash with you, and if you're getting down to the nitty gritty of the negotiation, you can try the tactic of, "I've got $100 cash here for you now" and show them what you're prepared to pay. For some companies who prefer cash, this can work the negotiation round to your favour.
8. Even if this is the product of your dreams, never show the salesperson just how much you want it. Appear interested but also indifferent, so that when you negotiate, you're not showing how much you want and need this product. If you are too keen, the salesperson is less likely to lower their price as they know that they are in the stronger position.
9. Appear calm and casual throughout the transaction, and if need be, walk away from the negotiation if it's not going well. You can just say that you're going to look elsewhere, because the product is too expensive. Sometimes just the threat of walking away can kick start the negotiation to move in your favour. Another time, it might actually require you to physically walk away from the sales person and then they know you mean business, and suddenly open themselves up to negotiate with you.
10. Finally, if you have done your research, you'll know the price that you are happy to pay. For anything more than this, walk away and just find a different retailer who can offer you what you want, for the price you are willing to pay. Stand firm and don't be bullied into paying above the reasonable asking price for a product.