Recent Posts

November 17, 2010

44 easy asks

If you're not comfortable asking, or interested in getting started but unsure how/when/where, here are 44 easy opportunities for asking, which crop up on a day to day basis. If you have your eyes open, that is. I've provided an example for each.

Here are the first 15. The rest, tomorrow and Friday.

1. When something goes wrong, ask for vague compensation:

"I talked to four customer service agents and none of them was able to fix my problem. Now you finally tell me it's a computer glitch, after I spend two hours to try to fix this. Is there anything you can do to take away the sting?"

2. When something goes wrong, ask for specific compensation:

"It took the waiter 20 minutes to take our orders and then he brought us the wrong food. While we're waiting for the right dishes, how about you throw in a round of drinks?"

3. At the end of any transaction, open-ended question:

"Anything you can do bring this price down a little?"

4. At the end of any transaction, specific question:

"Could you knock off 10 percent?"

5. When you have a bank fee, a late fee, a service charge. Repeat after me:

"I know I made a booboo/I know it's part of the terms/I understand that's your policy, but could you please just knock off the fee as a courtesy? I would be incredibly grateful." (Nevermind that "convenience fees," "service charges" and their ilk are shameless consumer ripoffs. That doesn't stop me from disingenuous ass kissing if it 23 words will save $35.)

6. When you're buying more than the typical minimum:

"Since I'm buying 3/staying for a week/bringing the whole family, can you come down on the price?"

7. When you're buying a ton in the merchant's eyes:

"Can you do a bulk discount?" For example, for my fiance's birthday, two years in a row I negotiated a discount since I bought so much takeout: "I'd like you to cater my boyfriend's surprise party. I'm interested in ordering food and dessert for 12, but before I do I want to know if you can work with me on the price." This strategy probably won't work with a big-time caterer.

8. When you have a vague budget:

"I love it, but it's more than I can afford. Is there any flexibility on the price?"

9. When you have a specific budget:

"I love it, but I promised myself I wouldn't spend more than $20. Can you knock off that extra buck?"

10. When a product is cheaper elsewhere (or online):

"I saw the same lawnmower in a Home Depot ad for $249, but I love Ace Hardware. Can you give it to me for the lower price?" (Last minute price checks on a smartphone can come in hand here.)

11. When you're generally shopping around:

"I'm interested in buying a lawnmower and comparing options. I've seen something at Target and on Craigslist, but if you make me a good deal I'd love to conclude this today."

12. When the merchant's website has cheaper prices:

"Before you ring me up do you mind seeing if it's cheaper on your website? I know you guys honor your online price, which is an awesome policy."

13. Whenever there's no price tag:

"How much would you like for this armoire?"
"Would you take $600?"
(Note: This is old news, but remember to let the seller make the first move.)

14. When you've done your homework:

"How much would you like for this armoire?"
"Really?! But that's an imitation built no earlier than 1952, which merely looks like the older 1920s model you seem to be passing it for. Look at this red marking -- made in China. So really, it's worth around $200. Would you give it to me for that?"
"$200 is too little. Look at the quality."
"Imitation quality -- but it is an attractive piece. Let's meet in the middle, since it's hardwood but still a knockoff. How about $450?"

15. When you merely appear to have a good reason to lower the price:

"How much for this armoire?"
"$800. Hmm... the problem is that I like the look, but but it's not all hardwood... Would you be willing to drop the price and make the decision easier for me?" [when in fact nothing in your home is hardwood, but the seller doesn't know you're not hung up on that. You've identified a believable flaw and that's a good enough bargaining chip.]

On to Part Two.

[image credit:]
blog comments powered by Disqus