Haggling may not be one of the funnest things you’ll do on any given day, but if you’re anywhere near good at it, you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
For people who don’t want to haggle in person or don’t want to send emails back and forth, the simplest option is calling on the phone. This can be done to reduce your costs for phone, cable TV, Internet service or other monthly bills, and for big-ticket purchases such as a car or household appliance.
Here are some tips for haggling over the phone:
If you’re looking for a better price on your cable TV package, for example, look online for deals your cable provider and other companies are offering new customers, and ask for the same deal. The more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to haggle by suggesting you’ll go to a competitor that has a better price.
Know who to call
Most businesses have customer service phone numbers. If you get lost in a phone tree, press the number “0,” which should usually connect you directly to an operator. Ask for a customer service representative. If that person isn’t much help within a few minutes, ask to be transferred to their supervisor or a customer retention specialist who can usually offer the bigger discounts that you want.
Don’t debate the person on the other end of the line. Being mad will likely cause the other person to lose interest in helping you, so stay calm and on point. Ask for what you want and explain how long you’ve been a loyal customer and how much longer they’ll have you as a customer if they offer the discount.
Being silent can give the other person the incentive to fill the space by talking and hopefully offering options. These may include a free add-on service, such as free delivery of a new mattress if you’re negotiating the price of a new bed, or they may all of a sudden find a deal on their computer that they didn’t offer during the first few minutes of your conversation.
If the rep or retention specialist didn’t offer you the best deal you expected, then thank them for their time and say goodbye and that you’ll be checking with their competitors. This message that you may soon be dropping their service gives them one last chance to put you on hold and come up with a solution. If they don’t, then either go find a better price at another company, or call back a few days later and talk to another customer service representative. The people you talk with later may be willing to help you.