How to Master the Art of Negotiation
Simply asking for a better deal can translate into big savings
If you could pocket an extra few hundred dollars a month simply by asking a question, would you do it?
The power of "asking for it," they say, can result in everyday lower prices, as well as a significant increase in lifetime earnings. In fact, Babcock says that once when she was out shopping for jewelry, she asked for a lower price and ended up making the purchase at a 20 percent discount.
"Hotels are often willing to cut rates if they're not at capacity or upgrade you if it's no cost to them. For example, if they have empty rooms when you check in ... For restaurants, think volume. When you're spending more than the average bill -- say, takeout for a birthday party or reserving a room for a private party -- you have a lot of negotiating power. Either ask for a break on the price or see if they'll throw in some extras, like a birthday cake," she says. In exchange, she suggests, consider what you can offer, such as loyalty, gratitude, the promise of repeat business, or a mention of their brand to your 500 Twitter followers.
The same strategy works in customer-service snafus. Each year, millions of consumers are bombarded with payment problems, from improperly denied health insurance claims to underpayment of
Those startling numbers show the importance of checking up on how companies and agencies determine what you owe them and what they owe you. Sometimes they make mistakes, and being vigilant is the only way to make sure you get your money. But many people never see their cash again because they don't notice the problem, don't have time to call, or worst of all, don't feel they have the right to complain.
In fact, Yates says the most common mistake people make is giving up too soon. "I talk to people who get frustrated after one or two fruitless calls. Persistence pays off -- and so does being a pain the rear ... If you have the truth on your side and a willingness to battle, you can almost always win," he says.
Women are also more likely to overpay because they tend to be less comfortable with the idea of lodging complaints, says Babcock. She says negotiating for a fair price or complaining about a charge need not mean conflict, which is what scares some people off. Instead, think: "We have an issue ... and we can work to fix the problem together," she says. If a company has made an error, it will want to find a solution and ensure the customer is satisfied, she adds.
According to a survey by
Despite their sometimes impenetrable automated phone lines, companies are not the omniscient, technologically advanced entities they often present themselves to be. They aren't even that smart sometimes. But sometimes, making the call is worth the inconvenience and stress. You could find yourself hundreds of dollars richer.
- Banks Revamping Rewards Programs to Woo Customers
- How to Master the Art of Negotiation
- 5 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget
- Sneaky Coupon Strategies Consumers Should Watch Out For
- How to Battle Shopping Addiction
- Starting Off on the Right Foot Financially
- Awkward Questions You Need to Ask Your Financial Adviser
- How to Avoid an IRS Audit
- 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2012
- How to Set 2012 Money Goals That Work
- 2012: Financial Resolutions Beat Out Health and Fitness
- Time to Make New Year's Financial Resolutions
- How Retirement Savers Can Benefit from New 401(K) Fee Disclosures
- 12 Great Money Apps That Save Time and Cash
- How to Live Happily on Less
- Do You Need Longevity Insurance?
- Why Big Banks Are Like Drug Dealers
- 11 Retirement Benefit Changes Coming in 2012
- 10 Ways to Stay Safe While Shopping Online
- Take Advantage of Free Shipping Deals This Holiday Season
- Working Into Your 70s: A Smart Retirement Move
- How Co-Workers Influence Your 401(k) Choices
- How to Find the Best Bank Account for You
- How to Keep Your Holiday Spending in Check
- How To Navigate the Bank Fee Storm of 2011
- Santa on a Budget? What to Tell Your Kids
- Young Adults Suffering More Financially than Older Generations
- Borrowing From the Family Bank
Personal Finance - How to Master the Art of Negotiation
(c) 2012 U.S. News & World Report