How to Haggle
Filipinos are used to haggling, given their propensity to buy second-hand items at ukay-ukay stores as well as knock-offs and factory overruns at tiangges and bazaars. But some people are embarrassed about haggling because they might look cheap or they want to avoid an argument. Remember that the seller will almost always make a good profit even at the discounted price you set and agree on. To be a better haggler, follow these steps.
Step 1: Set your price
Before you even go shopping, do your research. Go online, check classified ads, and visit stores to get an idea of the price range – and the lowest you can go. If you don’t have the luxury of doing prior research, like for small items like a souvenir shirt, tell the vendor you’ll go around and check competing stores. However way you do it, set a price that makes it a good deal. Anything above it, pass it up.
Step 2: Act reluctant
Once you find something you like, don’t get too excited. You immediately lose your leverage. The trick is to show reluctance. One way to do that is to appear only slightly interested. Another way is to act like you really want it, but someone – mainly your spouse – isn’t so keen about it because of the price. You can also look for any flaw in the item –a little scratch, chip, or missing button. Maybe it looks like it’s been on display for too long or there’s no stock except for the display or demo unit. Finally, keep quiet. A long, awkward silence or mumbling “hmmm” with a facial expression that shows you’re not sure or convinced may get the salesperson to cut the price further or throw in another freebie.
Step 3: Be prepared to walk away
Don’t get attached to an item – be ready to walk away at any time. More often than not, the salesperson will call you back into the store and agree on your price. If not, go to a competitor more willing to negotiate. It’s not worth dealing with a company that refuses to budge an inch to get your business.
Step 4: Stay cool
The Web site howtohaggle.com advises: “Keep your cool at all times. The second you become angry, you are no longer haggling but are arguing.” Usually, the shopkeeper or sales person is simply acting angry. It’s all about bluffing. Nevertheless, be careful not to offend or agitate. So be firm but polite. After all, you’re the one offering a different price from what is advertised. If the exchange gets heated, don’t make a scene. Keep a cool head, say “thank you,” and walk away.
Step 5: Bring out your last card
If you and the seller can’t meet halfway, there’s one more way you may get him to agree or at least further lower his price: offer to pay in cash. Retailers don’t like credit card payments since they lower their margins. Another cash tactic is to show just enough bills in your pockets or wallet and say this is all you have. Add a couple more bills if that doesn’t work. If business is slow, he just might grudgingly accept. Now if price is non-negotiable, there’s another way of getting a good deal: ask for freebies. It could be a free item, extra service, or longer warranty. Knowing that you got more than you paid for will make you feel good about the deal.