Negotiation Strategies – A Casual Approach Leads To Surprising Results

Negotiation Strategies

Prices are often more negotiable than you think.  I recently visited an REI to buy new hiking shoes in preparation for a trip to Croatia.  I was kind of bummed that basically all the shoes I liked were selling for $120.00 or more, which seemed a bit rich.  So I deployed one of my favorite negotiation strategies - the casual approach.

Negotiation Strategies - The Casual Approach Is Easy To Do And Often Often Leads To Surprising Results

Aware that REI had run a 20% off sale on shoes in prior weeks, I mentioned to the sales rep, “It’s a bummer I missed the sale.”

“Yep,” he said, “too bad. But that was over two weeks ago.”

No joy…. I needed the shoes so decided to purchase them anyway.  While checking out, I made a point of praising the salesman who had helped me pick the shoes (which was a true statement, not just buttering up), then casually mentioned, “I’m sort of bummed I missed that 20% off sale.”

“Oh, you missed the sale!?  No problem,” the checker responded.  “We can hook you up.  Just keep shopping with us.”

In an instant I saved $24 on the shoes.  I turns out he was the store manager and had that kind of discretion.

Don't Overdo Casual Negotiation -  Just Gently Ask

To be clear, I don’t encourage constantly, aggressively pushing for lower prices on everything as one of your negotiation strategies.  That approach is stressful and makes life too much of a zero sum game.  However, casually asking a salesperson if that is the best price he or she can offer often yields a nice little discount.

(Interested in more negotiation strategies? Learn how to win the perpetual war of subscriptions and find cheaper insurance.)

  • Zack says:

    Thanks for the reminder to do this. I think it is a good habit to get into, but I buy things so infrequently in person that I forget to ask. We got a discount on cereal at the grocery store today but it wasn’t from our efforts. There was a buy 4 box bulk discount and it didn’t ring up correctly. We were kind to the cashier helping us about the store error and he threw in a free box in addition to the original discount. Being friendly to people and talking to them as humans goes a long way in this ever increasingly digital world.

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