Negotiating 101

In the US, haggling is something that makes a lot of people twitch and wet their pants.  It’s too hard/scary/intimidating, so most of us just take whatever price is offered, with a smile.

A Chinese gilt bronze stand and statuette of t...

A Chinese gilt bronze stand and statuette of the historical buddha on a lion throne, from Northern China, dated to the Northern Wei Dynasty, c. 480 AD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The truth is, you can negotiate in almost any situation.   Sure, big-box retailers with low-price goods–like Walmart or a grocery store–aren’t going to go for it, but a lot of other businesses will.  Did you know you can haggle at Best Buy?  It’s true, but only on the bigger ticket items.

You can also easily negotiate at place like these:

  • Credit card interest rates and annual fees
  • Luxury utilities like cable
  • Rent
  • Hotel rates
  • Airline tickets
  • Gym memberships

“Great”, you say.  “Anyone can do it?”, you say.  “But how, jerk?”

No need to call names, I’m getting to that part.

I am about to share the First Secret Lesson of Negotiating.   This secret has been passed down from father to son among the celibate Shaolin monks for generations.   Breaking the code of secrecy may be putting my life in danger, but I’m willing to do that for you, no matter the risk.

I rock like that.

Are you ready to be initiated into the secrets of the Ancient Masters?  When our first abbot, Buddhabhadra, first wandered into the Northern Wei Dynasty branch of Best Buy in 477 A.D., he discovered the phrase most likely to break price barriers.

Are you ready, Grasshopper?  This is the “Wax on, wax off” of effective negotiation.

When you are given a price, no matter what it is, say “Is that the best you can do?”

“This T.V. costs $7495.” “Is that the best you can do?”

“That comes to $56.95.” “Is that the best you can do?”

“$149,499 for the Ferrari.” “Is that the best you can do?”

“$12,000 for the kidney.” “Is that the best you can do?”

“Only $8.50 for this set of 10 tupperware lids that have been warped in the dishwasher.” “Is that the best you can do?”

“$50 an hour, honey.” “Is that the best you can do?”

“The salary for this position is $50,000 per year.” “Is that the best you can do?”

It is magical, it’s easy to remember, and it’s low stress.  This is a non-combative question.  The worst possible scenario involves the other side saying, “Yes, that is the best I can do.”  No sweat.

Negotiating Lesson 101.2:

After saying  “Is that the best you can do?”, shut up.   The other party gets to be the next person to say something.

Go out and practice this over the weekend.   Master the First Secret Lesson of Negotiating.  I’ll be fighting off Shaolin ninjas for sharing the ancient secrets.

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    1. I probably wouldn’t do this to the cashier at the grocery store. I think you have to keep it restricted to those who actually have the authority to modify any type of pricing.

    2. I have used that technique for (40+)years! I refer to it as just asking questions.

    3. Good tip. I would also say that getting the mindset of walking away is always powerful in negotiations.

    4. I haven’t really tried to haggle at big box stores, but it’s a definite give in haggling at car dealers and the flea markets I frequent, as well as craigslist.

    5. LOL, I use this line a lot. 🙂 Got some awesome stuff at Comicpalooza for 25-50% off that way. 😀

    6. I’ve learned that you can only negotiate with those who have the authority to make the necessary changes or adjustments. Once you do, you’ll get good about getting a discount.

    7. I’ve haggled down prices at department stores and pretty much anywhere. Even simply asking for a discount at a restaurant can land you 10% off a bill (ok so that one doesn’t work all the time).

      At first its a bit scary but it takes practice and some finesse. Definitely a skill worth learning and mastering.

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