Some people were born to haggle, negotiate, cajole, whatever you call it. The rest of us need some guidance. Here are 10 great negotiating tactics to use next time you want to get more for less. Photo by maveric2003.
8. Start with the 15-to-20-percent rule
This one's for the shier, more nervous negotiators, the types who don't like to cause a big hassle to save some money—like, say, at least two of your Lifehacker editors. If you're unsure where to start knocking around prices, try starting with 15 to 20 percent less than your absolute top spending limit, as suggested by the (US) Today show. It's basically marching up to the mark-up the seller is probably putting on the product you're trying to get, and moving incrementally down from there. Real simple, but you gotta start somewhere, right? Photo by jenn_jenn.
7. Ace your performance review, get a raise
Jump into that yearly chat blind, and you're likely to leave your supervisor thinking you're just a little better at FreeCell than he or she is. But if you've been quietly, easily building an accomplishments file, you've at least go something to talk about for more than five minutes. And if you know what they're looking for, your only job is to sell what you did, what you want to do, and how much it's worth to your company to do it for another year. Sounds simple? Unless you make it more complicated, it really is.
6. Know the salary you can really get
In a few rare cases, a salary is a stone-solid, non-negotiable marker. In most every job, though, it's up to you to explain your experience, know what your peers are getting, and defend your salary requirements. If you've got to shoot from the hip, aim higher than what you think you'll get, or aim really high and allow yourself to get knocked down—but only if you don't absolutely need that job.
5. Lower your credit card interest rate with junk mail
Trent at The Simple Dollar blog suggests compiling information from ctredit card pitches as part of a step-by-step guide to reducing credit card interest. Along with scoping out the offers on your card issuer's site, you arm yourself with a variety of competing rates you could easily get, get into the right frame of mind, and then call and force your way onto the phone with someone who can actually change things. Trent's post details the battle preparation in detail.
4. Just ask
Jason isn't afraid to reduce his bills by simply asking, and you shouldn't be either. It's not force of will or elegant pricing analysis you need to start chipping away at your bills. You're speaking to someone who wears a headset all day and hears almost nothing but complaints, so it's all about making yourself look good and getting on their good side. Soft-spoken curiosity about pricing, a congenial conveyance of brand loyalty, and being willing to move off what you think you want—say, lower premiums for your new car—and onto something you hadn't considered—"good driver" discounts, or savings for taking a safety course—can work wonders.
3. Keep quiet to press your point
<img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/lifehacker/2009/03/shhhhh.jpg" alt=""
/>Most of us are conditioned to avoid uncomfortable silences in conversations—that's part of the reason they design elevators to get you to your floor wihout a need for conversing (seriously they really do). But when you're angling for a lower price, a better payment, or some actual customer service, keeping quiet can speak volumes. A strategic silence can force your counterpart into action. If things get heated, silence can also keep you calm while playing with the yeller's mind. Either way, you've just won the battle of temperaments, and you're on your way to winning whatever war you're in. Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer.
2. Don't pay sticker price for your gadgets
It's easy to think of electronics stores as automated, margin-fixed resellers of whatever SonyAppleMicroSamsuVox want you to pay for. But that's not the case, as every retailer has to make quotas, and you can help them decide to make you part of thier equation. Start by using internet print-outs to back up your stance on lower prices. Know the features you want, and do some research on the "value-added" services most shops will try to tack on.
1. Buy at the right time
Eighty percent of success, the comedian once said, was just showing up. Get deep into the last 20 percent by showing up at the right time. For instance, cheap airline tickets often go on sale on Fridays or the weekend; clothes obviously get cheaper right before the seasonal changeover. And the end of the financial year is always good, if you can afford to be patient.
We're no experts at mastering body language and the soft sell, but we've got our resources. What do you do to work a better price out of other human beings (who are so much more complicated than Amazon)? Got some hard and fast rules or mental mantras you keep with you? Tell us about them in the comments.