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Why is it that we British find it so difficult to haggle, we simply won’t haggle? Why do we have this national hang up about discussing money in general?
We will discuss the weather, politics and the price of bread until the cows come home but as soon as anyone mentions money, we fall silent, cast our eyes to the ground and move on mumbling about having to feed the cat.
I think it’s time to take a leaf out our continental cousin’s arms flailing like propellers handbook of haggling and get a grip; we need to become masters in haggling like we were born in a Moroccan street market.
Here is a quick thought experiment, do you recall the last time you went to buy something, and you thought the price was slightly unreasonable. Let’s for example you went to buy a T.V for say £1,000 and you asked if there was something “they could do about the price?” they may have dropped the price by £10, would you ask again? Why did you not come back and offer them say £300 or £200 even?
The point here is you probably didn’t because you were bought up not to be rude and you consider low balling someone on the price might be offensive to them. This could not be further from the truth.
When someone quotes me a price all I hear is “%^&*(^&£%^&” you heard that right, When I am told the price all I hear is “%^&*(^&£%^&”. Now you might think that I am being silly, but not really.
The price someone gives me is their price not mine, that’s what they want, not what I want. They “Anchor” the item at a certain price and we feel obliged to stay as close to that that anchor price as possible because we don’t want to appear to be unreasonable.
You must ignore the anchor price they set and set your own price and always without fail to walk away but not before leaving your contact details, say contact me if you change your mind and then walk away. My golden rule of haggling is never haggle for anything I really, really want because I probably buy it regardless of the price.
Some cultures haggling is almost seen as something they do in the same way here in the U.K we would hold a door open for someone else. We do it without thinking and find it rather rude if we do not get a thank you for our efforts. The same applies to other cultures, haggling is so natural to them that they think nothing of it and expect you to join in.
Before we start haggling I find it always important to lay the ground work, I always do the following:
Before entering any negotiation always start with showing interest in the other person. Look around the place and see if there is anything of interest you can pick up on and ask them about it. Are there any signs of that person having a hobby, then ask them about it, let them talk about it for as long as they like, keep asking questions about whatever they are talking about, before long they will think you are their best friend.
Always ask them for their names, write it down if you must and repeat it, call them by name. Everyone loves the sound of their own name; it makes them feel like they matter.
If you do not manage to get the car for the price you want, you should return a week later and address the salesperson’s by their name and when you see them you greet them by their name and…….
When negotiating always smile. Sales people almost always expect some sort of resistance to the price, so you need to put on your happy face and smile. A smile can disarm any one and never wear sunglasses when negotiation outdoors. If you wore sunglasses and started to speak to me, I would not answer you. I want to see your eyes, since your eyes tell me more about you than your words ever will.
When you approach someone always appear that you are happy to see them, that they are the only person in the world who you genuinely want to see. People like to feel that they matter and when they see that someone is truly happy to see them it makes them happy and puts them at ease and they will do anything they can to make you happy, here we have the rule of reciprocation again.
We will use buying a second-hand car as our example. I have never owned a new car, all my cars have been second, third, fourth hand, I have never had the desire to be the one to take the hit on the cliff diving depreciation of a new car. So long as it gets me from A to as close to B as possible then I am a happy man.
When I go to buy a car I will always bid very low for the car and see the reaction of the seller, if they are not moved or show no overt reaction to the offer at all then I know that they might sell it for around that sort of price, I just need to tweak the number up a little but not by much. Once you put in your offer you must ABSOLUTLY must now shut your mouth and not utter another sound because the next person who speaks loses.
Let the other person reveal their hand, one way to force the other persons hand is to pretend to take a call on your phone make your excuses, say it’s an urgent work call, step away and let them stew a little. When you come back from your “call” they will either agree or ask for a little more than your offer but not by much I have discovered.
Why, because they can see that you are in no hurry to make offers or carry on talking and seem quite relaxed so relaxed that you might just walk away and remember you must be prepared to walk away unless you get what you want not what they want.
But what if they say no to your initial proposal, what then? Ask them for their best possible price, at this point they have YOUR anchor price fixed in their minds and will try and come as close to your price but not too far from their original price as not to appear like they were trying to pull a fast one on you.
This is your chance to seize the opportunity to come up a little on your offer and they will feel they have to reciprocate your gesture; this is called the rule of reciprocation where one good deed deserves another.
When I make my offer, say I offer £5000 for the car and the salesperson is not responding to my price, I like to then walk around the car and then offer them £4,900, another look at the car and then say £4,800, now they had better pipe up or my offer goes lower, either they take my business at £4,800 or they will have to take it at £4,700, then £4,600, £4,500 etc because I am only going in one direction and that is down and then out of the door with or without the car.
Once we get into a habit we will want to continue. You want the salesperson to say yes to your request, so we must get them saying yes as many times as possible to the word gets stuck in their heads.
Since we are using buying a car as an example, we will go with that.
You need to know about the car you wish to buy, which of course I do my research, I am not going to walk into a showroom pointing at any old crate.
I will ask questions that I know they will know the questions for example.
Me “Is the car a 2 litre engine”
Me “Is it front wheel drive”
Me “Does it have air con”
You get the idea, keep asking questions which result in the answer being yes and you are mentally conditioning the salesperson to say yes to your questions. It’s a matter of who closes whom first.
Of course, you have to shop around, find the best deal in town and pit the sale people against each other, let them punch themselves out trying to get your custom.
Sometimes it is cheaper to put the car on finance and get a cheap quick loan for the purchase rather than pay a large lump sum. I like having money in the bank, and if I have just spent all of it on a large purchase I feel a little uncomfortable so I will always take out a loan to finance a large purchase, but I will drive the price into the ground before I do. I always make sure that I repay the loan early if needs be without incurring any penalties.
The above is not an exhaustive tutorial on how to haggle but somethings to work on I would highly recommend a book called “How to make friends and influence people” By Dale Carnegie. A true goldmine of a book
Haggling does not need to be all shouting and throwing arms in the air, remember we’re British, we have our dignity to consider.