The Art Of Haggling Explained

Haggling’s easy, once you’re willing to put your doubts behind you and give it ago.

While there’s really only 1 key component to negotiating a discount, all of these haggling rules may be useful in your future attempts.

Disclosure: Based on personal opinion, not to be taken as advice. Seek a professional if required.

How To Haggle

Graphic with words, The Art Of Haggling Explained

Allow Yourself To Negotiate

Here is it, the most important part of haggling: Being willing. Most people aren’t comfortable asking for a discount, and that’s the most important part.

It may be your upbringing, fear of shame from your peer group, shame in the moment, or just the pressure of engaging with someone in a more rigorous way. But the first step to getting a discount is, asking for it.

Be Polite While Haggling

A simple, but important, rule. After all, the idea’s to negotiate savings, not to offend anyone.

You should be in a professional state of mind when haggling. As if you were at your own place of work, and dealing with a customer of your own.

You want the answer to one question: how low can you go? And, you’re unlikely to find out if you’re rude.

Take Names & Numbers

When I speak with a customer service person, they normally want to run me through a security check. They require my name and my details.

Some are impolite and seem to use this first initial interaction as a power grab. That is to say, the tone and direction of the conversation is dictated by the service provider.

I seek to reverse that, in as polite a way as possible. I would like their name, their department and a reference number for the call.

There are a couple of reasons to do this:
• First, I want to get them used to answering my questions, rather than me answering theirs.
• Second, I want a reference for the conversation we’re about to have.

I’m already accountable, and I want my counterpart to know that they’re also accountable.

In my experience, once I go through this process I tend to draw a more balanced conversation.

Be Willing To Walk Away

If possible, always retain your ability to walk away from a negotiation.

I’m not interested in running around, trying to find a ‘better’ price, then going back to the original seller to say, “can you beat it?”. If you have an offer to make, let’s hear it.

If the sales-person doesn’t care, then I’ll be on my way to another company. Or, in the worst case, I’ll walk away from the product altogether.

That rarely happens. It’s simply not how capitalism works. Sales people are encouraged to sell things: to earn and retain custom.

Notice Poor Service, & Leverage It

When a phone contract or service contract is coming to an end, I normally receive a letter, informing me of a massive hike in price for the following term.

I suspect companies do this because they know that most people don’t have the time to research a better deal, or to call them ‘before the deadline’.

But, that’s where it starts.

When I speak to the company sales-person, I seek to complain about the ridiculous hike in prices. Capitalism may regard this behaviour as acceptable. But, on a human level, it’s not.

I’ll explain to the human on the other side of the phone, how unacceptable this behaviour is. This is a good example of ‘bad service‘.

Any other examples of poor service should be used to negotiate savings.


Because it’s an important measure of what you’re negotiating for.

Was the service as advertised? If not, why not? What can you expect in future? Why should you pay full price, for a sub-par service anyway?

Grab A Great Offer

Sometimes during negotiations, the sales-person may make an off-the-cuff offer. Maybe you’re about to walk away, when this last ditch offer is made.

Well, if you really want the product, knowing when you have the best offer, is key. Because that’s the offer to take!

I recently negotiated a new phone contract. I was offered 50% off my monthly fee, reducing it to £2 per month.

When I heard 50%, I knew it was a great offer and immediately sought to close the deal and guarantee the discount.

Getting Money Off

I recently purchased a pair of boots.

On the day, the shop was having a sale. There was already 25% off the ticket price. I noticed that one of the boots had a scuff mark at the toe. Nothing that affected the boot. It was purely aesthetic. I wasn’t too bothered -but, I wanted more money off.

I simply asked. The sales assistant asked me to wait while she spoke to the manager.

The manager offered a further 10% off the asking price.

So, for a pair of boots, which I would have purchased anyway, I got 35% off.

Let’s look at it from the managers point of view.

They want to get rid of the boots because the scuff makes it harder to sell. Here they have a customer willing to purchase them, if only for a little discount.

It makes perfect sense for them to offer the discount. In fact, the only reason I can see why they wouldn’t, is because of a personal dislike of the customer (See, Be Polite While Haggling).

How to negotiate savings

Negotiating is a fantastic tool because the sales-person isn’t really prepared for the odd conversation they’re about to have.

And more than likely, you’ll get a decent deal out of it.

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