This Phrase Will Help You Negotiate Better Discounts

This Phrase Will Help You Negotiate Better Discounts

It’s beneficial to embrace the art of negotiation. Skilled negotiators often earn higher salaries and get bigger discounts. But if you’re insecure about your haggling skills, it might help to follow a script. Next time you’re looking for a better offer, consider the following phrase: “I’m sorry, you’ll have to do better than that.”

Photo by Brian Teutsch

Negotiating expert Roger Dawson calls it the “Vice Gambit”. When someone makes you an offer you’re not happy with, use the simple (albeit somewhat condescending) phrase: “you’ll have to do better than that.” Dawson says it can be surprisingly effective:

It will amaze you how often inexperienced negotiators will concede a big chunk of their negotiating range simply because you did that. What’s the next thing that you should do, once you’ve said, ‘You’ll have to do better than that’? You guessed it. Shut Up! Don’t say another word.

Read more about Dawson’s gambit in his full article.

To Get a Better Deal, Learn How to Use the Vise Gambit [Roger Dawson]


  • I could see that going down like a lead weight in some contexts, particularly with some salespeople (like me).

  • At JB i often use “can you do any better” and i get a good deal off the sticker price for most items.

  • It’s likely a bad phrase as you are issuing an ultimatum.

    “Can you do better than that?”

    Is just as effective and means you don’t need to exit the store empty handed should the salesman already cut his GP to the bone.

  • I’m sorry, you’ll have to do better than that
    Thats not gonna gel well with many sales people, unless you first build a bit of a relationship with them by having a chat and engaging them a bit. Otherwise rephrase to something less demanding like “Thats a good offer, but I’d really like your best offer”.

  • Actually, it is quite rude and unfriendly, more likely to piss off the sales person unless they are really desperate for the sale. You’re accusing them, in effect, of doing something wrong.

    Asking them for a better price is more likely to get a favourable response, or just making a statement about not being willing / or not wanting to pay so much.

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