Your Money Matters: Negotiating tips

Nancy Coutu

Money Managers Financial Group
1211 W. 22nd Street
Suite 800
Oak Brook
www.monimgr.com

Negotiating Tips

You should prepare before you start a negotiation. I recommend writing out a script and having it in front of you if you’re on the phone. I have an example of a script on my website, monimgr.com.

Be Polite
Be polite! Don’t raise your voice or get angry. If the person you’re talking with can’t help you, ask for someone else.

Be Loyal
If you are a loyal customer, say so. If you like to shop locally, tell the store owner.
If you have a good track record of on-time payments, make sure to point that out.

Research
Research the cost of any particular product or service before buying. Use it to determine what you are willing to pay.
If a competitor or online retailer has a lower price, see if the store will match the lowest price.
Don’t forget to ask about free shipping, delivery and installation.

Use Silence
Mum’s the word. Silence says a lot. Pause for 30 seconds or so before accepting a deal. You may get a better counter-offer.

Walk Away
Finally, don’t threaten to leave unless you’re prepared to follow through on it.

What to Negotiate

Home Contracts
Yard work help, landscaper and housekeeper - these types of services are usually local, and you would be talking to a small business owner rather than a big corporation so use this to your advantage.
Use flattery in your request - telling the business that you would prefer to work with them, but you have been quoted a lower rate by one of the competitors.
If you can refer to other customers (neighbors), you can use that as a bargaining chip as well!

Credit Card Bills
Credit card companies want to get their money back, so they’re often willing to work with customers to make it easier to pay down debt.
Relatively few people ask, but two out of three cardholders who did ask for a lower rate got one. (source if you use stat: CreditCards.com)
If you are trying to get a penalty fee like a late fee waived, point out your great track record of on-time payments.

Furniture
Industry insiders say it’s possible to knock off 10% to 20%. Just keep in mind that you’ll usually have better luck at an independent showroom than at a big national chain.
If you want even a bigger discount like even 50% off the asking price, offer to take the floor model or buy a piece with stains, scuffs and scratches.
And remember ask for free delivery.

Phone, Internet & Cable
You may have the best luck if you try to negotiate with your current carrier near the end of your contract. It is much harder for a company to acquire new customers than to keep the ones it has, so they’ll be more willing to make a deal.
Keep track of what competitors are charging their new customers. Just pointing out a better deal may be enough to get a discount.
If they say no, call back and talk to someone else. Sometimes just speaking to a different customer-service rep can be all it takes.
If you can’t get them to lower your bill, you may get them to give you a freebie, like a DVR or another add-on.

Insurance
Here’s where doing your research can really be in your favor.
Make a spreadsheet of the various discounts you’re eligible for from different carriers, along with the rates you’re quoted by each.
You might be able to score a lower rate based on criteria like your profession, the age of the car you drive or theft-deterrent systems on your home or vehicle.
If your current insurance company doesn’t offer those discounts, find out why. Let them know you are shopping around and see if they will offer you lower rates to keep you as a customer.