I never quite got the art of the bargain. I love going to a sale and getting a great deal, but I’ve got nothing when it comes to bargaining for it. Take, for example, my best friend. She can haggle with a sales person in a chic New York boutique for a deal and get her price. She expertly negotiates her deal, sometimes even walking away, only to be called back and met either with her price or somewhere in the middle.
- In an open-air market, with no prices posted, you bargain. In a department store with marked prices, you do not.
- If you're dealing with the owner, it's probably appropriate to bargain. If you're dealing with a salaried clerk, it's probably not appropriate.
- It should be worth everyone's while.
- When in doubt, merely note what others are doing.
- Once you've determined that bargaining is expected, you need a sense of how much you can expect to drive down the price. Make a counter-offer too low, and you look bad. Too high, and you'll pay more than you need to.
- Typically, at an outdoor market you can expect to get the price down by 10-30%.
- Don’t buy the first thing you see. Look around. Get prices from a few merchants. You’ll soon get a sense of what’s reasonable.
Is there an art to the bargain or a bargaining gene that I didn't get? I realize that there are only a handful of places that you can actually bargain for a price and I'm more than sure that Neiman Marcus isn't one of them. So that leaves the obvious places. Yard sales, flea markets, farmers markets, auctions, store closeouts, consignment shops, car dealerships, etc., but could I be wrong? In these tough economic times, people seem to be bargaining more and more in places that you wouldn't think would settle for a negotiated price. The result has given the consumer the upper hand.
Even major retailers like Best Buy, Circut City and Home Depot are getting in on the bargaining culture to retain buyers. Citing the wealth of consumer information available on the Internet and something they are calling "the Ebay phenomenon", this article explains the shift in major retailers price flexibility and acceptable consumer "haggling".
So lets say I find myself in a position to bargain, where do I begin with price? 30%? 20%? Whats the general rule when working a deal? How much back and forth is appropriate? And what about the old, "I'm walking away," technique? Is that something you need to have a "feel" for so you know when it's execution will procure your desired price?