In the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey, when Papa asked Madame Mallory the price of a private property in a quaint French town, she sarcastically remarked, “Oh, you must understand that a property of this size in this village would be very expensive and, well, I heard you asked for a discount in Claude’s hotel and…” To which Papa patiently responded, “Madame, asking for a discount doesn’t mean I’m poor. It means I’m thrifty.”
The truth is, everyone has the opportunity to negotiate on nearly everything. Just because there is a price tag on something doesn’t mean the price is final. It really comes down to how you bargain for the product or service you desire.
Here are 3 very popular haggling techniques you can employ the next time you go spending:
Flinching. Many people naturally cringe when they encounter something unpleasant. In the case of flinching, you would deliberately communicate to the seller your displeasure upon hearing him quote a price you are not willing to pay for. It can be as simple as a frown or gasping for air, or as exaggerated as a full body recoil where, for a while, the seller might think you are dropping dead on the floor.
You may think flinching can only be applied when you are face-to-face with the seller. But no, flinching can also happen during phone conversations, as with the following scenario:
Contractor: To renovate your kitchen as per your requirements, we estimate the cost to be RM20,000
You: (Purposely drop the phone and pick it back up) Mr Sam, my apologies, I was so stunned with the figure that I dropped my phone
Cherry Picking: Cherry picking is the act of tearing apart an unfavorable proposal and offering to pay for a couple of items that benefit you. By doing so, you hope the seller would concede and lower the price of the entire proposal.
Using the kitchen renovation example, you would ask the contractor to itemize his proposal. Then tell him you are only interested in fixing 3 out of 10 items, for instance, the wet kitchen, cabinets and lights. By doing so, you hope the contractor would feel compelled to shrink the entire quotation to get you to agree to sort out the entire kitchen.
Offer to pay cash. Many merchants, especially small and medium boutiques, and mom-and-pop businesses often accept credit cards to offer a multitude of payment options to their customers. And many of them cost the credit card processing fees into their merchandise pricing.
Offering to pay cash for a discount works for pricier items. The next time you walk into a store, ask for a discount by offering to pay cash. Say something like, “I’m willing to buy these 2 Samsung smartphones in cash if you give me your best price.” The merchant would be more willing to strike a deal than let credit card processing fees eat into their profit.
Be mindful though. Negotiating on a RM500 dress shows that you are wanting to spend money sensibly. In fact, the boutique might even encourage discounts than to have you walk to their competitor. However, bargaining over a RM2 pair of socks would definitely make you come across as a total cheapskate.