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4 Ways to Be a Better Bargainer
1. Get savvy about a store's mark-up and discount policies. Study sales fliers and talk to friends who have shopped there. You'll be in much better shape to negotiate.
2. Don't limit yourself. While you naturally think of cash savings when haggling, try asking for extras -- free delivery, an upgrade of some kind, something thrown in -- instead.
3. Come armed with price comparisons. Google to find prices at other retailers for the exact item and bring printouts of the best deals. Ask the salesperson if he can beat an advertised price.
4. Pay cash if you can. If all else fails, tell them you'll pay cash rather than charge it (in which case the retailer has to pay the credit card company a cut).
How to Score a Good Deal
Haggle with the person who has the power to change the price. This is usually the manager of the department, but sometimes it's the salesperson.
Be polite. You're more likely to succeed if you smile and play nice. Be friendly and don't bad-mouth the product you're trying to get a discount on. If you get annoyed during a negotiation, don't show it.
Play the game. Remember these rules: Never reveal what you're willing to pay, never be enthusiastic, and always respond to offers you don't like by staying quiet. Make it the salesperson's job to break the uncomfortable silence.
Walk away. If your negotiations are going nowhere, be prepared to abandon your efforts. This shows the salesperson that you aren't bluffing, and may spur him to offer you a deal just to keep you in the store.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, February 2009.
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