Art of the deal is knowing when and how to bargain

Posted March 27, 2019 08:00:30

“Is that your best price?”

It’s a question often posed to sales reps. But before you ask it, take a minute to consider if you’ve equipped yourself with the right tools to secure a bargain.

Voice coach Dr Melissa Agnew said a lot could be determined by how a question was asked.

“If you walk into a store you need to sound confident, present and acting like you want to be there,” she told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“You also have to really engage with the people you’re speaking with — that’s a very big part of it.”

Ms Agnew said many people in Australia added an upward inflection at the end of a sentence which could give a mixed message when trying to negotiate.

“It can sound like a question or that you need validation, whereas if you say it without the upward inflection, it sounds like you have completed it or nailed it.

“I don’t enjoy the engagement of bartering, but because I’ve been a voice coach for over 35 years, I don’t seem to have to negotiate very much.”

Don’t leave space for questions

Dr Agnew said one mistake often made was that too much “wiggle room is left if you don’t finish a question”.

“We’ve forgotten the art of the full stop.

“We’re hearing that more in broadcasts today, as people don’t reach a full stop and all the information rolls together.

“When you use a full stop and you get to the end of the sentence, it’s final and you hear it.”

Keys to good bargaining

  • Do your research
  • Know what you want to say and when to say it
  • Be very clear
  • Rehearse in the car beforehand
  • Know the five main points you want to make

Source: Dr Melissa Agnew

Body language and facial expression also played a big part in communicating, she said, so ensure you’re looking interested in the seller to make them feel hopeful about the sale.

Know when to bargain

Not every situation is appropriate to ask for a better deal; consumer advocacy group Choice encourages people to think about not just the bargaining process but the negotiation over the whole package.

Big-ticket items such as cars, whitegoods and mortgages are all suitable instances, and throw in with that negotiations over features, customisation, services, installation and delivery.

However, it’s best not to bargain over the price of small, inexpensive items in supermarkets and similar stores unless an item is damaged.

Financial adviser and author Noel Whittaker said people should go into the process with a positive attitude.

Being polite during negotiations could also help you reach a happy medium with the seller, he said.

“It’s well documented that successful people have an optimistic attitude and that unsuccessful people have a pessimistic attitude.”

Mr Whittaker urged people to become an “expert” on what they were buying, especially when it came to property or big-ticket items.

“Read books by well-known and trusted experts, acquire as much knowledge as you can.”

Choice also reminds customers that with the increasing worldwide economy and online shopping, shoppers are open to more variety and have the ability to compare prices, empowering them to negotiate a better deal.

Be prepared, do your research and good luck!

Topics: lifestyle-and-leisure, house-and-home, small-business, human-interest, consumer-protection, retail, brisbane-4000

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