Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Asking for the Bargain
Do you know you can make your own bargain prices? You probably already do this if you’re an avid yard sale shopper. Perhaps you ask the seller to go down on the price or combine item prices for a total lower price per item. If you already do this, you have the basic skills. If you don’t, you only need three things: a motivated seller, a reason to lower the price, and the ability to walk away.
Start with the ability to walk away, if you show up somewhere and babble on about how much you love something then You are the motivated buyer. The seller does little more than takes full price for his item. He doesn’t have to sell you because you’ve already sold yourself. He is sure of you. No matter how much you want something do not show it. Think of it as shopping poker. Before you even start looking for an item, set a mental price that you will not go over and stick with it. You can even use it as a bargaining chip. I often say I can only pay twelve dollars (you make up your own number) and pull out the cash money. Paying in cash is a powerful incentive. Actually seeing the cash pushes the bargaining power into your corner.
When you ask for a lower price, you have to have a reason. Maybe the item is damaged, out of the box, out of season, etc. Think of an appropriate reason, but be specific. I found three slightly soiled and ripped dresses at an upscale dress shop that I made an offer on to the manager. I pointed out that because no one sewed anymore and it was doubtful the stains would come out, the dresses wouldn’t sell. I probably couldn’t fix them, but I was willingly to try at $5 each. Now, I knew I could fix them, but most people couldn’t or wouldn’t and the manager knew this too. I bought three dresses for under $20.
Go to the top when asking for a discount. Salespeople usually can’t help you unless they’re on commission. Then they can choose to cut into their commission if it means a sale. Remember they are eager to make a sale with some money as opposed to no sales. Find the manager or owner of the store. Ironically, they are usually more willing to cut deals to encourage goodwill.
Think of why this would benefit the seller. The seller has to be motivated to deal. If it is the end of the day at an open-air market, street stand or even a yard sale, you can point out that the items would not have to be packed up again. With food and perishable items, a selling point is they will not be good the next day.
Suggest deals, you may not always get a lower price as you originally asked, but you can get other things. Getting a major appliance, ask for free delivery and removal of the old item. Ask for additional services if you are at a salon or buying salon products. Buying a phone, ask for additional apps. When I switched phone services, I received free phones and the employee discount when I mentioned checking out the competition. Buying at a local farm stand, ask for a baker’s dozen. What is the worst that can happen? Someone tells you no. You haven’t lost anything. Thank them politely and walk away. Let them see you walk away; they just might call you back.
I’ve left items I really wanted and came back days or weeks later and it was still sitting there unsold. The fact that no one bought it made me wonder about the value of the item. It was good I left it originally as opposed to giving into the impulse to buy it. The time apart from the item made me realize that I didn't need it, especially at that price.
In this depressed economy, will people deal? Yes, unfortunately every item is starting to become a luxury with less and less people buying. Online sites such as www.groupon.com and www.livingsocial.com that offer everything from dinner to golf at half price prove that companies want to deal. I guess the big question is why are you still paying full price?