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Finances in 55 Seconds: Negotiate a Better Deal

Posted By Miranda Marquit On 06/13/2011 @ 12:06 pm In Personal Finance | 5 Comments

In many cases, it is important to get the best deal you can. Negotiating a lower rate [3] on your TV bill, or your Internet or phone bill, can be as easy as picking up the phone. Of course, chances are that it will take more than 55 seconds just to get to someone who can help you with your issue. The good news, though, is that it can take less than a minute to prepare yourself ahead of time. And, let’s be honest, it’s the prep time that is really important when it comes to negotiating a better deal.

Before you pick up the phone and make that call, figure out what you will say. Knowing what you want, and how to say it politely, is important in any negotiation. Here’s how to prepare to negotiate a better deal with your service provider in less than 55 seconds:

  1. Look for better offers from your service provider: The first thing to do is to visit the homepage of your service provider, and see what is being offered to new customers, or see what existing customers can get. Make a note of the deal that would best suit you. (16 seconds)
  2. Check with competitors: Next, check with competitors to see what they are offering, and if it is any better. Make a note of what the competitors are offering that might fit with your TV watching or Internet needs. (16 seconds)
  3. Decide whether you can walk away: Figure out whether you are willing to walk away from your current provider. If you would have to pay a fee for quitting an agreement early, figure out if your new savings would pay for it. We once switched competitors because the savings over the same period of time outweighed the fee we had to pay. (10 seconds)
  4. Sort out what you will say: Just before you call, sort out what you will say. Point out that the service provider is offering a great deal to new customers, and that you would like to take advantage of it, as a loyal customer. If that doesn’t work, then point out that competitor A is offering such-and-such and competitor B is offering another deal. Then let them know you are willing to switch providers. Get this order in your head, and prepare to call. (13 seconds)

This is a great way to review your options, and figure out how you can save money on services. You can also use a similar technique in other negotiations [4] for services and products. Know what a reasonable price is for what you want, and know what you are willing to pay. We once negotiated a lower price by showing a competitor’s online price. The store was willing to match the price, in order to get our business. This saved us money on shipping, and got us a lower price in the bargain.

Some things to remember when you are negotiating, though, include:

  • Civility: Be polite. Remain calm. If you don’t get your way, there is no reason to get upset. You can decide whether you are willing to pay a higher price, or whether you will walk away. But you should always be polite.
  • Silence is golden: Sometimes, silence can help you. Appear as though you are deliberating, hesitate, wait to see if the other person will fill in. My husband and I once got a good deal by being silent when we were offered a price. We looked at each other, looked at the item, looked back at each other, and the salesman jumped in with a lower figure as the silence approached 30 seconds or so.
  • Be prepared to walk away: You have to be prepared to walk away from the deal if you aren’t ready to pay. Sometimes, your negotiation gets new life as you are walking away. If it doesn’t, though, you still have to be willing to leave the item on the table.

What are your best tips for negotiation?


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[3] Negotiating a lower rate: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-to-strong-arm-your-way-to-a-better-deal.html

[4] negotiations: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/four-expenses-negotiate.html

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