Be a master negotiator: 10 things you can negotiate for and how to do it
Nov 12, 2020
6 min read
What we'll cover
Tips to improve your negotiation skills
10 things you can negotiate
How you can put your negotiation skills to the test
You might already know you can negotiate your salary, the price of a car, or the cost of a house. But did you realize you can incorporate that negotiating mindset into many other purchases? Whether you’re a natural bargainer or feel intimidated by initiating a negotiation, with a little planning and understanding, you can work with sellers to score deals on all types of purchases and, in turn, increase your cash flow — a.k.a. the total amount of money going in and out of your bank account.
But before you begin bartering and bargaining for purchases big and small, it’s a good idea to practice your negotiation skills and nail down the tactics that can propel you to success. So, read on for our top negotiation tips and best practices that will help you be a stronger and more confident negotiator. Then, we’re sharing several items you can negotiate — and some may surprise you.
Know the fundamental rules of negotiating
Chances are, you’ve already negotiated today and didn’t even realized it. You negotiate with yourself what grocery store you'll shop at, how you prioritize your workday, and the list goes on. So, to get more comfortable with formally negotiating with others, consciously try to practice more casual negotiations during your day-to-day — keeping these tips in mind.
Know what you want: And ask for more. It’s okay to aim high, since you may have to work down from your initial request. This way, you and the seller could compromise by settling on the amount you actually want.
Be optimistic: If you go into a negotiation expecting it to go poorly, chances are, you’ll be correct. Be confident in yourself, ask for what you want, and visualize your request being fulfilled.
Be prepared: A successful negotiator does their research beforehand. And it doesn’t hurt to practice making your request and not immediately taking no as an answer.
Actively listen: When you do this with the person you’re negotiating with, you make them feel respected — and increase your chances of striking a deal. Plus, when you understand their needs, you can tweak your request accordingly.
Keep your emotions out of it: Otherwise your judgement is clouded. Remember it’s okay to take a break from the negotiation to calm down or refocus.
Negotiate online: Log on to an online marketplace and find something you’re interested in buying. Try to score a deal by messaging the seller to ask if they’re willing to negotiate — chances are they will be.
Know when to walk away: Once you start negotiating, you may feel like you have to walk away with something, or it’s wasted time. But if you’ve reached an impasse, sometimes it’s better to respectfully call it quits so you can focus on other options.
Items you can negotiate
You may be surprised by how many things you can negotiate, from major purchases to weekly essentials. While it may not always look like a negotiation you’d see in movies, even asking for a discount in a traditional shopping setting is a form of negotiating — and it’s a great place to start as you work your way up to bigger buys. Here are items, services, and more you can negotiate for to increase your overall cash flow.
Don’t be intimidated to negotiate with a car salesperson — doing so can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Start by doing your research to understand what the car’s market value is. The more information you come with and patience you exude, the stronger your negotiating power will be.
Next time your microwave breaks, you need a new fridge, or are looking to buy any home appliance, know there’s room to negotiate. Most stores consistently replace floor models with updated versions, so ask if they’ll sell floor models for a discount instead of the listed price. Or, inquire if they’ll price match, even if they don’t tout that offering.
Sellers typically expect that you’ll negotiate the home price as a buyer, so make sure you give it a shot. If you’re working with an agent or realtor, they can back you up. Keep in mind you can negotiate more than just a home’s price — you can negotiate things like closing costs, repairs, cosmetic updates, and more.
When you go to a department store for new clothes, you might think the price tag is non-negotiable. But expert negotiators advise you to always ask if there are any discounts when you check out (especially at big box retailers) as you never know if there are promotions they aren’t flaunting — or if a generous cashier will be willing to extend a discount. And to get even more deals, try negotiating prices at second-hand or consignment shops.
Negotiating isn’t just for saving money, it’s for earning money too. You can (and often should) negotiate for a higher salary in scenarios like starting a new job or receiving a promotion. Remember to be confident in yourself and ready to provide concrete examples of why you deserve more money.
Bartering may not be as prevalent as it once was, but you can still negotiate at some supermarkets, as they may be willing to give you a lower price to avoid food waste. Start in the deli or bakery, look for items close to their expiration date, and ask the manager for a discount. Use this strategy with other items close to expiring or with slightly damaged packaging, too.
Repairs and renovations
If you’re getting work done on your home, it’s generally a good idea to compare a few different service providers or contractors. By having more options, you may be able to work with one to drive down the price you’ll owe.
Credit card interest rates
The average credit card rate is between 17% and 25%, By asking for a lower rate from your credit card issuer, you can save yourself from accumulating steep interest charges each month.
Medical invoices can be expensive and stress-inducing, but negotiating them can be worthwhile. When you receive an invoice, ask if there are any ways to reduce your payment. You should also request an itemized receipt, so the cost of each charge is transparent.
The price of furniture floor models is often negotiable. And timing your purchase can help you negotiate an even better bargain. Want a bunch of items from the same store? Ask for a discount on the bundle or smaller accessories like lamps, rugs, and side tables.
Put your skills to the test
Now that you know you can negotiate on virtually everything and have the fundamental skills to do so, don’t be afraid to jump in. You can always start with small amounts of money and work your way towards better deals as your confidence grows. Whether you knock $5 off a price or $500, put your “winnings” in your Online Savings Account and you can increase the amount of cash you have on hand.