I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite bargaining tips to help you get a better deal this holiday season (or any other time really).
1. Never pay full price for anything . . . and be flexible about what "paying full price means." If you are buying several things and ask for a discount and get a discount on one or two things, you've saved money across the board. You get what you ask for.
2. Begin your bargaining when you have the salesperson excited about what you are going to buy, not when you are excited about what you are going to buy.
3. Be sure that you can walk away from the deal. You may not get a discount on the very last product there is to buy in your city (but you might if you ask) but, you may buy something in high demand and sell it at a profit which effectively reduces your cost of other products you really wanted.
4. Ask for a discount. It is that simple, ask with conviction and expectation. "I'd like to buy this and I'd like a discount of 10% because (key word) I'm buying all of these things or because it was on sale yesterday or because it is all I'm willing to pay for this as I can buy it online for that price with free shipping."
5. Come armed with proof, if you know something is cheaper online, print out the page showing the product, showing that there is free shipping or showing that you buy x and get y. Proof will often initiate the discount.
6. Initiate the law of reciprocation. Bring a handful of miniature candy bars (or full sized ones) and give the person you are about to ask for a discount a candy bar in advance of asking for the discount. Be smart about this, give them the candy bar, ask a few questions, then ask for the discount, do not give them the candy and immediately ask for the discount. Another tactic that works to initiate the law of reciprocation is to give the sales clerk a couple of dollars and ask them to put it in the red kettle or other charity donation box on both of your behalf.
7. Laugh - When you ask the price of something and they tell you, begin laughing as if you don't believe them, then say, that's really great, now how much is it really? It undermines the confidence of the person, then ask for the discount.
8. Don't just walk away from one product, walk away from ALL the products in your cart if you can, let them see that they stand to loose a lot if you walk away. Let them see that the money they'll make when you buy everything outweighs giving you a discount.
9. Be disappointed - Allow people to see how disappointed you are that you are not getting that perfect thing that you want. Most people, espeically during the holiday season want you to get what you want.
10. Shop locally. Small local stores are more likely to negotiate on price that large chains, but by all means, ask for the discount at the chain as well.
11. Negotiate with the person who has the authority to make the deal.
12. Leverage the fact that you are a good customer, talk about what you've purchased there throughout the year.
13. Get the name of the person you intend to negotiate with, find out a little about them, ask them about them, get them talking about themselves and what they are interested, it is much hard for people who like you and who've just shared themselves with you to say no to a small request.
14. Bring a heavy. Bring someone with you that says you have to go if they won't negotiate, make it someone else's fault that you aren't buying.
15. Ask for more than you expect. If you want 10% off, ask for 25% off, if they say no, ask what they can do. Be ready to settle for whatever they can give you, anything off is a better deal.
16. Be personal, but don't make it personal. Do not become fixated on the outcome.
17. Do some research ahead of time. Use Twitter Search to look for discount codes, coupons and examples of what others have done in terms of getting discounts. Use those as tools to get the discount you need.
18. Consider other things that they can do rather than give you dollars off. Maybe they can throw in an extended warranty, give you free batteries or free assembly or free delivery. Maybe they'll give you a discount on something else instead. Remember the goal is the reduce the overall cost of your purchase.
19. Fight with tools. Use your phone browser to show them other prices online or at a competitors store. Use your phone to let them hear the competitor say what their price is and ask for price matching.
20. Have fun. You may not get a discount everytime but you don't get a discount everytime you don't ask. Make it a game for yourself to see how many items you can get discounts on this year.
Let me know if you have favorite tips that help you get discounts and let us all know in the comments here what you got for a discount and how you did it!
Have a Merry Christmas and have a bunch of fun shopping! Here is where I'm doing most of my christmas shopping this year! Oh, and until November 30, get three free MP3's at Amazon, it's my gift to you, nothing to buy, just free music, enjoy!